Ballmer Says Microsoft Ready to Profit From PlayStation Delay

Posted on March 20, 2006

CNN reports that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer says Microsoft is ready to capitalize on the recent delay announced by Sony. Sony says the PlayStation 3 will not ship until November given Microsoft ample time to sell its Xbox 360 console. Ballmer also says they are making Xbox 360s as fast as they can and wans to be the "first guy" to sell 10 million consoles.

"In every other generation, the first guy to 10 million consoles was the number one seller in the generation," Ballmer told FORTUNE in an interview on Thursday afternoon. "Did we just get an even better opportunity to be the first guy to 10 million? Yeah, of course we did."

But Microsoft will not formally revise its projected market share for the Xbox 360, and it will not speed up production to capitalize on Sony's delay, because it's already producing the Xbox as fast as possible. "We've been saying 'make them faster' before yesterday," says Ballmer.

When the Xbox 360 launched last holiday season, Microsoft had its own missteps. Shortages led to sales of only 600,000 systems from the debut on November 22 through December 31, far fewer than Microsoft and market analysts expected.

There is still a production bottleneck because of problems with a component vendor, whom Ballmer declined to name, but he expects Microsoft to sell 5 million systems by June. "We're sort-of on track," he says, "though it would've been nice at Christmas to have one for everyone who wanted one."

It definitely gives the Xbox 360 a big head start and it puts more pressure on the new consoles from Sony and Nintendo to be really good.

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