He took a while in his windup, but Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella reaffirmed his commitment to the Xbox game division as core to Microsoft’s business.

In a message to all employees, Nadella thanked Microsoft staffers for their contributions and laid out the company’s strategic priorities. On page four of his six-page memo, he addressed Xbox, which some wags have suggested would be better off as a standalone business, spun out of Microsoft. But as long as Xbox is profitable and makes Microsoft look cool to the masses, you can bet that it will keep the business. It may not get all of Nadella’s love and attention, but it remains Microsoft’s most successful diversification beyond Windows and Office.

“I also want to share some additional thoughts on Xbox and its importance to Microsoft,” Nadella wrote. “As a large company, I think it’s critical to define the core, but it’s important to make smart choices on other businesses in which we can have fundamental impact and success. The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming. We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation. Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox. Xbox is one of the most-revered consumer brands, with a growing online community and service, and a raving fan base. We also benefit from many technologies flowing from our gaming efforts into our productivity efforts — core graphics and NUI in Windows, speech recognition in Skype, camera technology in Kinect for Windows, Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation and many more.

“Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft.”

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