Xbox Live: How an Old Tech Company Built a Social Media Juggernaut

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This article originally appeared in Harvard Business Review on June 8, 2012

This week much of the country has been transfixed by the NBA playoffs, in which two 36-year-old superstars — Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics — have been playing as if they found a time machine. Their success is a reminder that the conventional wisdom that basketball is a game for young people doesn’t always apply.

The same phenomenon has been quietly playing out in the world of social media. Amid the flood of social media IPOs during the last 12 months, another “old guard” tech company has quietly built one of the most dominant, fiercely loyal and profitable social media businesses to date. You might have heard of it: The company is called Microsoft, and the social media business is called Xbox Live.


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