NEWS - Thursday, December 5, 2002

Microsoft stands behind the power of the X

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec 4 (Reuters) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people) said on Wednesday it would pour more resources into its efforts to carve out a position in the $10 billion video game market rather than cutting its losses and exiting from the venture. Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer John Connors, when asked if the world’s number one software maker had an "exit strategy" for the year-old Xbox video game machine, said in a Web cast: "The fallback position is probably to double down and make it successful." Although Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how much it has spent on the Xbox so far, figures released last month showed that the home entertainment division, which includes the Xbox, lost $177 million in the last quarter. Microsoft is expected by analysts to spend more than $2 billion over five years on the Xbox machine, which launched a year ago as part of Microsoft’s push to get its technology and software off the the desktop and into living rooms worldwide. Connors was speaking at the Credit Suisse First Boston annual technology conference in Scottsdale, which was closed to media. Japan’s Sony Corp. <6758.T>, whose PlayStation consoles have been the best-selling video game machines in history, is competing aggressively with Microsoft to hold on to its leading market position. Both the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 are now linked to the Internet, which is expected to fuel further growth in game titles as players play video games and compete against each other in virtual worlds from their living rooms. Shares in Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft were down 17 cents at $56.54 in late afternoon Nasdaq trade after trading higher for most of the day.


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