Nice USA Today report on Redmond’s latest attempt at a pre-emptive strike. Excerpt:
To muscle Xbox into contention, Microsoft has absorbed about $2 billion in losses the past four years. Now the software giant is making a bold move to jump ahead of Sony by initiating the next cycle of gaming consoles.
On Thursday night, actor Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings fame will host a celebrity-packed MTV special at which Wood is expected to unveil the all-new Xbox. Widely expected to be called the Xbox 360, it should hit store shelves in time for Christmas.
But much more than dominance of the game-console business is at stake. Whoever sells the most consoles in this cycle could also lock up prime access to the burgeoning digital entertainment market.
Microsoft has been on a three-year mission to ingrain Windows Media Center PCs as the nerve center for digital entertainment. And it is maneuvering the new Xbox to be a linchpin in helping consumers manage music and movie files stored on a PC in the den.
Meanwhile, Sony, in partnership with IBM and Toshiba, is developing something called the Cell processor — expected to be an all-purpose “brain” for video games and consumer electronic devices, much as Intel’s Pentium processor is for PCs.
Er, the Naughton household has had a ‘Media Center’ for some years. It’s called a Macintosh!