July 5, 2007 2:10 PM PDT
Microsoft to extend Xbox 360 warranty, take $1 billion hit
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In September 2006, Microsoft acknowledged that the earliest Xbox 360s were prone to problems and agreed to cover all costs of repairs on consoles made prior to January 1, 2006.
But for some Xbox fans, that hasn't been enough. Take, for example, the case of Rob and Mindy Cassingham, of Moab, Utah. From the Xbox's launch in November 2005, until February 2007, the Cassinghams went through six defective Xboxes before deciding to sell the seventh and give up on the console, according to Dean Takahashi of the San Jose Mercury News.
Others, too, continue to be dissatisfied with the Xbox's quality, even in more recent months.
"(My) Xbox 360 is dead. I have only had it for a little over a year. I spent $400 on the system, and another $800 on games, and I have a dead system," Kyle of Duluth, Minn., wrote on ConsumerAffairs.com, a site brimming with angry Xbox users' testimonials of their poor experiences.
"Microsoft wants ($140) to fix this thing, and out of complete honesty, I'm not going to get it fixed. I'm absolutely angry about this. They have a substantial amount of systems with problems, and it is widespread. It isn't just a slight problem, and someone needs to speak up about this. I'm so sick of seeing all of these people being taken advantage of by a company that is based around greed. They should be fixing these systems for free. Too many people are having these problems."
Microsoft said it will reimburse customers who have already paid for repairs for the hardware problem that is indicated by the three flashing lights.
And while no direct correlation has been drawn between the Xbox's QA issues and sales, the console has not managed to dominate the industry the way that Microsoft had hoped. While the Xbox did control the next-generation console business for the year it was the only entrant, Nintendo's Wii has since grabbed the top spot.
According to The NPD Group, the Wii is the current leader in sales, topping the Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 3. In its first month, the Wii sold 476,100 units and a total of 1.516 million in its first three months, while the Xbox moved 323,400 consoles in the first month and 854,300 in its first three months. The PS3 sold 511,500 in the first month and only 1.253 million in the first three months.
CNET News.com's Daniel Terdiman and Tor Thorsen and Brendan Sinclair of GameSpot contributed to this report.
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