Among many crazy ideas, Microsoft argued over giving out the Xbox for free

In the earliest days of planning the Xbox and, more importantly, planning what to do with it, Microsoft deliberated whether it should just give the console to people for free — the console, not Xbox Live —according to one of those responsible for its creation.

Seamus Blackley co-wrote the proposal that got the Xbox project started and was on the team that designed the first console. This week, in an interview with, he said “everybody and their brother” at Microsoft who was shown the Xbox project “tried to come in and say it should be free.

Those persons and their siblings also tried to “say it should be forced to run Windows after some period of time,” Blackley said. Their idea was that Xbox should have been a vessel for the Windows operating system.

Blackley was tasked with selling this new channel to the entertainment industry, and it hated the hell out of Windows. “If anything you do runs like fucking Windows, we don’t want anything to do with it, right?” Blackley told

“Just name it, name a bad idea and it was something we had to deal with,” he said.

Obviously, some kind of sensible thinking prevailed — we’re now on the third machine running under the Xbox nameplate after the first one lost a ton of money.

For more on the raucous development of a console from scratch, see the link.