Microsoft Execs Bash Sony

    June 2, 2006

Microsoft has fired another shot in its ongoing battle with Sony and the upcoming Playstation 3. Xbox UK boss Neil Thompson and Europe boss Chris Lewis made comments in an interview attacking the Japanese corporation’s choice to build its Blu-Ray DVD technology into the platform.

At issue is the (predicted) format war between Blu-Ray DVD and HD-DVD. “Sony are now making people pay an extra few hundred pounds for a Blu-Ray DVD drive which we don’t know is going to be the standard in the next-generation DVD formats,” Thompson said. “This is the company that brought out Betamax – we don’t quite know where they’re going to go with this . . . . I find it concerning for consumers that they’re being forced into a purchase.”

Lewis expressed the point with more diplomacy than Thompson. “[PS3’s] is an interesting price point that in my view forces the consumer down a choice path in a way that I’m surprised to see.” Both executives seem to believe the high price of the Playstation 3 will turn people away. This could benefit sales of the Xbox 360, and would take the pressure off Microsoft to reduce the platform’s price.

Microsoft has plans to release a stand-alone HD-DVD hard drive as an accessory to the Xbox 360. Thompson thinks this is the way to go. “If gamers over time choose to go to HD-DVD we’re going to give them the choice to do that, but we’re not going to force them to buy that day one,” he said.

This competition has been escalating for some time now. Putting aside the merits of both platforms, it looks like it won’t be long before the two companies fall into blatant name-calling.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.