Business Week profiles Robbie Bach, President, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division and Chief Xbox Officer. Excerpt:
One crucial discussion for the Xbox team took place on Feb. 14, 2000, when they met with Ballmer and Chairman Bill Gates. Bach wanted the green light to develop the Xbox without using Windows. But Gates resisted, opening fire even before he sat down. “The operating system I’ve been working on for 25 years is not good enough?” Gates said, according to Xbox technology exec J Allard, also at the meeting. Bach held his ground, arguing that Windows would ruin the gameplaying experience because it wasn’t specialized enough for the task. At the end of a three-hour meeting, Bach and his team had persuaded Gates and Ballmer to make one of the biggest financial bets in the company’s history, using a completely foreign strategy. The event is known internally as the Valentine’s Day Massacre, for how brutally it started. “None of us have ever forgotten that meeting,” says Bach.
His Microsoft biography has more standard details.