NEWS - Friday, October 28, 2005

Microsoft On 360 Launch Expectations

MICROSOFT DOWNPLAY 360 LAUNCH EXPECTATIONS Profits up but MS pushes more cautious 360 launch expectations, Thompson confirms "we’re going to be tight on day one" Microsoft has published its latest round of financials and predictably the Redmond giant is making as much cash as ever. However, slipping in between the financial news cracks, it’s also attempted to downplay expectations on the launch of Xbox 360. Microsoft reported quarterly profit risers of 24 percent based on strong sales of its Windows OS in contrast to yesterday’s Sony financials, but also said that the launch of the 360 wouldn’t be the all out sales blitz that many analysts had predicted. Speaking to Reuters, Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said Microsoft were aiming for more of a "gradual ramp" of Xbox 360 sales, so that the company wouldn’t run out of stock during the all-important launch window. Microsoft has previously acknowledged fears of stock shortages this festive season, as it attempts to launch simultaneously in all three major territories. "The analysts were expecting more of a launch spike than we were," Liddell told Reuters, "For Xbox 360 we’ve taken a deliberate approach." Speaking to respected UK trade mag MCV, Microsoft’s UK regional director Neil Thompson added further light on the subject: "We did say we’re going to be tight on day one, but people should think about this over a longer period than the first weekend," said Thompson. "Despite what some people are saying, we absolutely are going to replenish before Christmas. I could make the whole world or the UK wait four months or I could satisfy some of the demand on day one. That’s what we chose to do. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t."


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