Microsoft improves Xbox 360 shipments
Microsoft Corp, the world's biggest software producer, has boosted shipments of the next-generation Xbox 360 console in order to increase its 'first to retail' head start over rival Sony's PlayStation 3, which is scheduled for release in November of 2006.
In a media interview on Thursday, Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer, Chris Liddell, said, "We made a conscious decision to be very aggressive on selling Xbox 360 consoles to get as much into the installed base as we possibly could ahead of Sony's launch." However, increased productivity aside, Liddell also revealed, "We're very happy with the market momentum, but from an earnings point of view, it's hurting us."
The recent boost in unit production and the steady removal of retail bottleneck on advanced orders - dating back as far as late summer 2005 - means that Microsoft has duly raised its bottom line target sales for the Xbox 360 (for up to June 30th) from 5.0 million to 5.5 million. Their initial estimates sited end-of-year sales at 4.5 million to 5.0 million. Despite the decline in frustrated consumers, Liddell seemed reticent to state that 360 shortages were now a distant memory, instead indicating that Microsoft's implemented improvements certainly helped but positive demand for the 360 meant that production was still playing catch-up to a degree.
Microsoft is set to push the 360 as hard as possible in terms of consumer groundwork before the unveiling of Sony's PlayStation 3 toward the close of the year. By contrast, market leaders Sony indicate that some 6.0 million units of the PS3 will ship within the first 6 months of release.