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July 13, 2008

Microsoft replaces 20GB Xbox with 60GB version

Posted by David Hunter at 12:30 PM ET.

The rumors of an Xbox 360 price reduction came true today, but it turned out to only be a clearance sale on the 20GB version as Microsoft has replaced it with an 60GB version at the old price:

Microsoft Corp. is giving consumers more gigabytes for their buck. The company today announced an Xbox 360 console with triple the storage space of the original console, but for the same price of $349 (U.S.) estimated retail price (ERP).

Available in retail stores in the U.S. and Canada starting in early August, the upgraded Xbox 360 will include a 60GB hard drive for storing the growing wealth of digital entertainment available for the console, including music, movies, television shows and game content. In addition, Microsoft today dropped the price of its 20GB Xbox 360 console in the U.S. and Canada to just $299 (U.S.) (ERP) while supplies last, a savings of $50.

Xbox 360 is just one of three Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment systems Microsoft offers. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Arcade, which comes with a 256MB memory unit and five Xbox LIVE Arcade games, is a value for the whole family for $279 (U.S.) (ERP), and the premium Xbox 360 Elite console is available with a 120GB hard drive for $449 (U.S.) (ERP).

Presumably cost reductions on the base electronics and on hard drives make it all doable at a profit or not too much of a loss. Don’t expect Nintendo or Sony to follow suit though:

I’m just waiting for Sony’s release now to complete the picture by saying something along the lines of: “No way, our $399 (40GB) and $499 (80GB) models are still bargains, considering you get a Blu-ray player.”

Seriously, Sony has said they’re not going to cut prices during E3, but there is a rumored new model coming in August.

Originally, the Sony PS3 seemed overpriced, but Blu-ray may well have saved the PS3 or the PS3 may have saved Blu-ray depending on how you look at it.

Filed under Blu-ray, Coopetition, Hardware, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Xbox

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February 24, 2008

Microsoft bails out of HD DVD

Posted by David Hunter at 12:16 PM ET.

After Toshiba surrendered the high definition DVD war to Blu-ray last week, the remaining supporters of HD DVD have been announcing their revised plans. Yesterday Microsoft’s were revealed on their Gamerscore blog:

As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD.  Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market.  As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.  HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.

Frankly, the statement is a trifle odd since it seems to promise some sort of ongoing HD DVD compatibility and there is no mention of Blu-ray support. LG Electronics says it will continue to provide dual format players for a while, and I suppose Microsoft could well do the same, but HD DVD drives are soon going to be rather scarce.

One other thing that is odd is that back in 2005 Microsoft was one of the leaders of the HD DVD cause with a public fulmination by Bill Gates among others, but the last ditch battles seem to have been fought by Toshiba alone while Microsoft was publicly AWOL.

Filed under Alliances, Blu-ray, Coopetition, HD DVD, Hardware, Microsoft, Toshiba, Xbox

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July 26, 2007

Microsoft lowers price of Xbox HD DVD player

Posted by David Hunter at 1:21 PM ET.

Microsoft today provided a modest boost for two of its troubled initiatives when it lowered the US price of the add-on HD DVD player for the Xbox 360 from $199.99 to $179.99. Adding to the incentive, those who purchase between August 1 and September 30 will get 5 free HD DVD movies from a list of 15. Toshiba has been running the same 5 free movie promotion for some time on their line of standalone HD DVD players.


Filed under Blu-ray, Coopetition, General Business, HD DVD, Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft, Sony, Xbox

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May 11, 2007

Microsoft Weekly Miscellany, May 11, 2007

Posted by David Hunter at 2:11 PM ET.

Sun’s JavaFX to take on AJAX, Silverlight in the Rich Internet Application (RIA) competition. I thought the days of slow, cheesy looking Java client apps were thankfully past, but I guess not. Hearing that “JavaFX Script leverages 2D graphics APIs in the Swing GUI toolkit” merely reminds me how awful Swing applications actually were. We’ll see if Sun can find a pony here with a scripting variant of Java, but I doubt it. While they were at it, Sun mostly open sourced Java.

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar v1 released. I’ve long used something similar with FireFox, but one was really needed for IE.

SQL Server ‘Katmai’ Lacks Anticipated WinFS Features. Why spoil a perfect record? Related: David Boschmann explains Microsoft database projects Jasper and Astoria.

Microsoft publicly betas Tahiti, renamed SharedView. It’s a screen sharing program which up to 15 people can use for collaboration. There’s still no hint as to where it fits in the Microsoft galaxy of products although the original rumor was as part of Office Live.

Symantec attacks Microsoft’s Forefront Client Security. The fact that Forefront Client Security (for businesses) is using the same engine as the troubled OneCare consumer product leads to predictable snarking.

Microsoft signs Web video deals:

While it’s tempting to label the shows advertorials and leave it at that, Ben Silverman, Reveille’s chief executive, said he’s tried to find more elegant ways to incorporate products and entertainment.

I think Ron Popeil beat them to it.

Microsoft must answer racketeering claims over Best Buy deal.

Xbox Spring update released including Windows Live Messenger.

PS3 to ‘Win’ Console War Because of Blu-ray according to Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst.

Mac share of US Web surfers doubles in 8 months – it’s up to 6%

Filed under Apple, Best Buy, Blu-ray, Coopetition, Forefront, HD DVD, Hardware, Internet Explorer, Legal, MSN, MSN Content, MSN Video, Microsoft, Office Live, SQL Server, Servers, Silverlight, Sony, Sun, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live OneCare, Xbox

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