Final Xbox founder departs Microsoft

The final member of the original Xbox development team at Microsoft has decided to leave the company. The Seattle Times reports that Otto Berkes announced on Tuesday that he was resigning from Microsoft after 18 years of working at the company. Berkes was among a group of four team members who convinced Microsoft to launch a game console that would compete with Sony's Playstation business along with Nintendo's game console franchise.

Berkes and the other team members, which included Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley and Ted Hase (all of whom have since left Microsoft), first proposed what was then called a "Direct X Box" and was based on a prototype built using Dell PC laptops in 1998. The final result of the team's work was the original Xbox which was first announced by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2000 and launched in November 2001. It now is a major portion of Microsoft's business with $10 billion in yearly sales.

Berkes joined Microsoft back in 1993 and worked on a variety of projects for the company over the years. After leaving the Xbox team he helped to develop the UltraMobile PC hardware concept which had features like touch screens and more. While a few UltraMobile PCs were made and sold the concept never caught on. One of Berkes' last major Microsoft project was the dual screen tablet concept code named Courier but Microsoft shut down that product in 2010. The article states that Berkes will be leaving for an unnamed company outside of Microsoft's Seattle base.

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