Aussies And Kiwis Last In Line For Xbox 360It's official: Australia and New Zealand are now last in line to receive the Xbox 360, Microsoft announced today. It's strange, too, since Microsoft's market share for current-gen consoles is largest in those countries at about 40 percent. As it stands, the Xbox 360 is slated to launch in Australia and New Zealand on March 23, three weeks later than the original March 2 launch date. Microsoft said the delay is due to "short-term manufacturing issues due to component shortages stemming from challenges in ramping supply." Production issues have hampered Microsoft's ambitious world-wide launch from day one, thanks mostly to the 1,700 individual components that make up this complex machine. Manufacturing issues have played a part in sales figures; only 1.5 million consoles were sold in 2005, well below Microsoft's original forecast. After working out these short-term kinks, Microsoft will hopefully be able to get its manufacturing back on track for the Aussies and Kiwis. A Microsoft representative said today "The good news for consumers is that there will be a bigger supply of consoles on hand on day one to help fulfill demand." Microsoft was anticipating 3 million consoles to be sold by the end of February, but it now predicts selling about 500,000 less than that. Celestica has signed on as an additional manufacturing partner, so Microsoft is still expecting to sell better than 4.5 million units worldwide before the end of June, which would make the Xbox 360 the fasting-selling console ever. Typically, Australia and New Zealand launches run concurrent with European launches. 500,000 360s have been sold in Europe while only 100,000 have been sold in Japan, the most difficult market for Microsoft to crack. In North America, 900,000 consoles were sold in 2005.