On Leaving Microsoft: Frequently Asked Questions

It’s been a great couple of weeks.  There’s just no way I can possibly thank everyone both at Microsoft and outside for the kind words and good wishes.  And also for the new opportunities that have popped up!  I’m now a free agent and certainly still evaluating the future so please get in touch.

What’s been the most fun however has been the questions and speculation.  So let me for a moment answer the top frequently asked questions from the past 2 weeks since the announcement I am leaving Microsoft.


No Mom. We love Seattle.  My plan is to stay here if I can.

No one just leaves their job like that, were you forced out/asked to resign?

People who ask this I think don’t really understand how corporations work.  The short answer is: absolutely not.  If Microsoft wanted me gone, it would be as simple as showing me the door.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post this was a personal decision and it was completely amicable with the company.

Why doesn’t Xbox LIVE use true two factor authentication for account security?

That is an excellent question for the Windows Live ID team.

Are you going to work for Sony/Apple/Nintendo/Google/Amazon?

I have no plans to announce at this time.  A number of great opportunities are currently being evaluated and out of respect for the people who made them available I’m not saying anything more.  The short answer though is that for now I currently have no plans other than to take some time off and enjoy the company of my family and friends.

Will you stay in the games industry?

That looks very much to be the case, given the options presented so far.  However I’m open to just about anything I feel I can devote passion to.

Why were you so mean to Jonathan Blow on the Giantbomb e3 podcast?


How in the world did you manage to keep your cool with that insufferable Jonathan Blow during the Giantbomb e3 podcast?

I love this question(s).  Shortly after the podcast, Jonathan offered us a ride back to the area of LA downtown where e3 is held, it was hardly an angry situation.  Jonathan is one of the few developers I will say “shut up and take my money” before he even tells me what the game is about.  The podcast was an actual conversation in a room about a set of real things.  I find the accusation that myself or @thevowel were shills to be funny, because the thing we were most worried about during that conversation was that we were drifting too far away from what people on the podcast wanted to hear about at e3 like the Wii U or Uncharted 3, etc.  We didn’t intend to get mired in the details of Xbox.  I love the Bombcast and would love to be a guest again.  I’m a huge fan.

Long story short, there was actually no bad blood there, and it’s entertaining to see people speculate.

Were you just a shill or did you actually do something on Xbox LIVE?

Despite twittering like a mad twitter monkey, press or public engagement was about 15-20% of my role.  The rest was actually working on either enforcement or actual new features and Xbox or LIVE specific functionality.

Who’s replacing you, who do we go to about security issues or enforcement issues on Xbox LIVE?

I do not know, at this time the company has not announced an individual for those questions.

Would you ever go back to Microsoft?

Absolutely without hesitation, if the opportunity was right.

Will you speak at my event/grant me an interview/be on my podcast?

Maybe!  I’m now a free agent with all sorts of thoughts.  Just send me an email with "[MEDIA REQUEST]" or "[EVENT REQUEST]" in the subject line to stepto at stepto.com and I will look your request over.

Why did you *really* leave Microsoft?

Like I have said, it was a personal decision.  The company has a lot going for it and I’m not interested in being one of those people who leave then are prone to lobbing hand grenades over the wall from the outside. Microsoft has publicly wished me well in my future endeavors, and I likewise remain excited about the future of the company and especially about the future of Xbox and Xbox LIVE.


So there it is.  And I totally came home tonight and flopped in a chair and said “Well, I’m back.” from my last day on this epic journey.  Tomorrow the house sitters/dog sitters arrive in the morning and we’re off to Dallas and then off to our cruise.

I plan to drink rum drinks, and laugh with my friends.  Rochelle and I are going to go snorkeling in the sun and visit an ostrich farm. There will be plenty of Rock Band, and board games and the ritual smoking of Cuban cigars in sight of Cuba itself.  Then after we say goodbye to our Internet friends, we’ll meet up with my brother Jeff and go visit NASA.

And we’ll come back to Seattle. We’ll play with our dogs in the valley, check email for the first time in weeks.

And the next phase will begin.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I wish you the best in all you do, and hope we will be able to see the Joco cruise on Youtube again this year, as I can’t afford to go.
     How long before Rochelle kicks you out of the house? I made it two weeks before my significant other was suggesting job ideas to me.

  2. You have seriously touched many lives out there not only in the gaming world but in everything you do. You’ve been a positive influence in my life over the past 6 years and I thank you for implanting so much into me for where I am today.
    Go well Stepto and enjoy the well deserved break. We will keep in touch online for sure.
    God’s speed!

    Glenn ZA – Xbox Community Ambassador South Africa

  3. haha i knew it!

    “Are you going to work for Sony/Apple/Nintendo/Google/Amazon?I have no plans to announce at this time.”

    Would be awesome if you work for Nintendo. They really need you (i mean, look at their 3DS eShop, its far from good) for the Nintendo Network. I love Xbox, but i love Nintendo as well. And Xbox LIVE is perfect, but Nintendo could really need some help from you.

  4. Lee Brownhill says:

    I have already done this, but again, i wish you well in your future projects. I know i will miss you on the show.

    I admire you for having the guts to move on from a job which you have been in for so long.

    All the best

  5. Good luck to you. I was an MSFT employee for 9 years. It was my first “real job” and at some point I realized I was just too comfortable and I’d broken the promise I had made to myself in college to remain challenged and not become complacent. Right after I handed in my blue badge I wasn’t at all confident that I had made the right decision but 5 years later, I have no regrets. I hope you figure out what makes you happy and I also (selfishly) hope that you’ll keep using your talents for the good of the gaming world. 

  6. Good luck. I was fortunate enough to find the podcast last year and hearing a lot of the questions I had about Xbox being answered by you guys on the podcast was awesome. I knew everything I got was the truth. and I look forward to what ever you have going on later on. 

  7. Zack Stein says:

    You still owe me $20 bucks. But, whatever. You’re “unemployed” now. Deadbeat…

    Just kidding. I hope you and your yellow shades see the world. Love those dogs. Be excellent to your wife. And then get back to what really makes you hum inside.

    But seriously, I need my money.

  8. Good luck in whatever endeavour you embark upon! It’s been pure joy listening to you on the podcast. I just finished the first post-Stepto podcast now, and it didn’t feel complete. Again, good luck. You’ll be missed :-)

Leave a Reply