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Microsoft's Xbotch

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June 07, 2007 – Comments (4)

You don't have to go far on "the Internets" to find angry consumers complaining about their Xbox 360s. No, the complaints aren't the usual ones about Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT). They're not about clunky interface, lack of design leadership, or unimaginative features.

They're mostly about the hardware. It sounds like too many Xbox 360s have suffered problems, from post-update "bricking" to scratched discs to the dreaded "red ring of death," the symptoms of which include a dead console and a variety of red LEDs around the power button. I'm always careful not to draw too many conclusions from limited samples. As an investor, I realize how easy it is to be fooled by randomness. Be that as it may, Microsoft's holiday-season move to lengthen the warranty seems to me to be a good indication that there's more trouble than Mr. Softy wants to admit.

Unfortunately, I may be fooled by randomness now too, because I'm a victim of Microsoft's Xbotch myself.

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4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 07, 2007 at 5:28 PM, TMFBent (99.82) wrote:

And a response from a Microsoft employee:

Seth,

 

First of all, I work for Microsoft. But nonetheless, I am also a consumer.

 

I have owned almost all of the home gaming solutions over the last 5+years. I have a 12 yr old boy and an 8 yr old boy that truly beat the machines to death. I have never had 1 minutes problem with my Xbox 360 (or my Xbox original). Unfortunately, not true of the Nintendo 64 (went thru 5 of them), the Game Cube (went thru 3)Game Boys (working on #3 for each boy), Playstation (on #2) or now the Wii (can’t upgrade it at all). My sons also have many friends that own Xbox 360’s and not one of them have had the problems that you are describing either.

 

So let’s really talk about which game system is more reliable… By my tallies that is the, ohhh….., XBOX…

 

I not only use mine for games, I connect to Media Center Server and stream audio and video also with no problem. By my account, it is the only box (of many) that I have not had any problems. Besides that, let’s talk about hardware availability. Have you even tried to get a Wii these days? I CAN’T get a replacement for mine, because they are not available. Talk about a botch job…

 

Although I am sorry that you have had problems, I think you should do a bit more research before you blast out information.

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

[name withheld by Sj]

Architectural Technologist and Strategist

National System Integrators

Microsoft Corporation

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#2) On June 08, 2007 at 9:15 AM, maverickpl (76.28) wrote:

Seth, you could always get a Playstation 3 as the newest firmware allows for most of the media center features that you desire. Granted there aren't as many games or as much downloadable content; however, the system is far quieter and it's reputably more reliable for people that aren't employed by MSFT.  While I can only back this up with that silly thing called faith, I am almost sure the PS3 will see a $150 price drop before the end of the year.

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#3) On June 08, 2007 at 12:56 PM, TMFBent (99.82) wrote:

I may have to take a look, but there's the wife and the rolling pin to consider.

Sj

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#4) On June 08, 2007 at 6:07 PM, mrfancypants (< 20) wrote:

As a gamer, I've owned almost every game console that has existed since the Atari 2600, with a few exceptions (never owned a 3do, CDi, Neo-Geo or Turbo-Grafix 16) and I've only ever had 3 consoles die on me, the Playstation 1, Playstation 2 and XBox 360.  The PS1 & 2s died 3 and 5 years after purchase, though, the 360 died within a year (and the console itself is less than 2 years old, far too new to have all these problems).

 

The kicker is that I took super good care of my 360 because I had heard the reports of problems on the Internet.  And even though the comments were enough to cause me to make sure my 360 was extremely well ventilated, etc, I always assumed they were overblown and would interject my own little "my 360 works fine" posts to try to offset the negatives since obviously people are more likely to post when they've had a problem then when things work great.. but then one day (about 3 weeks ago), I was hit with the "red ring of death" out of the blue... D'oh!

 

To Microsoft's credit, they handled my return well, though I'm concerned that I got back someone else's refurb and not my original unit or a new one.. Given all the horror stories of people having to replace their 360s 4 or 5 times, I suspect it is only a matter of time until my "new to me" refurb unit has to go back in...

If any journalists out there are reading this and want to get to the bottom of the real return rate for 360s, I recommend you go talk to people at UPS Stores... The confirmation for me that this problem is serious and widespread is the clerk at the UPS Store I dropped my box off at knew my box was a dead 360 before he looked at the label, and the box it gets sent back in is a pretty plain looking cardboard box with no MS/Xbox markings...  I asked him how he knew it was a 360 and he said they are handling "dozens of them a week"!  At one UPS Store!

Buyer beware!  The 360 is one of the best consoles ever created in terms of great game selection, an amazing looking fall lineup this year, media center features, etc, but Microsoft really needs to stop sticking their head in the sand over the red ring of death and disc scratching problems.

 

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