InsideMicrosoft

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Gears Of War Song Contest

If you enjoyed the Gears of War commercial (and subsuquent parodies) as much as I have, you’ll definitely want to check out Gears of War Idol, the singing contest around the song from the commercial, Gary Jules’ Mad World. The prize appears to be a copy of the game, so just picture yourself serenading Marcus Fenix, and you could be controlling him soon.
(via 360 Fanboy)

November 17th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360, Gears of War | 9 comments

$100 Xbox 360? Yes, Actually

Amazon is running an amazing promotion for the holiday shopping season: Customer Vote, in which four great deals are presented, and customers vote on the one they want. The first week’s deals are:

Already having an Xbox 360, I’m more interested in the bike, but the 360 is handily winning the voting so far (87.2%). At least Barbie is in last place. The winning item will go on sale next week Thursday, November 23, at 2 pm Eastern, 11 Pacific. While I may not need an extra Xbox 360, I’ll still be right there, trying to grab one, if only to use as a $100 Media Center Extender.

The good news for those not interested in the deal: the promotion will go four consecutive weeks, so hopefully there will be something for everyone in future lineups. Make sure you read Amazon’s buying tips to understand how the procedure works.
(via Ben’s Bargains and Joystiq)

November 17th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | one comment

Every Time A PS3 Is Sold, Sony Loses An Xbox 360

iSuppli did its very popular accounting of the costs of major consoles, determining that the Playstation 3 is not only unprofitable, as expected, but that Sony loses the cost of an Xbox 360 Core System every time you buy one.

ps3-component-pricing.png

According to their figures, the 20 GB PS3 costs $806.85 to manufacture, while the 60 GB version costs Sony $840.35. That means that Sony loses $241.35 on the more expensive PS3 (which has better margins since it is certainly not worth $100 more than the other version), and loses an even worse $306.85 for every “cheaper” PS3, which is probably why you won’t see as many of those in stores (not that you’ll see a lot of PS3s in stores at all the next few months).

The great new for Microsoft: the Premium Xbox 360 costs $323.30, making it actually profitable (and earlier in the lifecycle than the original Xbox was). Microsoft is making money every time you buy a 360, which is probably why production is suddenly going a little faster. While Sony continues to lose money, Microsoft will be banking some, and if 360 sales start to flatline, Microsoft can always sacrifice some of that $75.70 margin for a price cut.

Imagine that: The Xbox 360 could be priced lower than the Wii, right now, and still be profitable. Microsoft should consider ending this console war right now by making the $600 PS3 look even more ridiculous by comparison.

November 17th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | no comments

How The Zune Got Its Name

The SF Gate has an article where David Placek, founder and CEO of Lexicon, disusses how his company came up with the name Zune. Some bullets:

  • The person who came up with the name isn’t getting the credit, to prevent a “swelled head”
  • 3,500 names were considered, developed by three teams with different instructions (one thought the device was from Sony, another an MTV product) as well as 60 Ph.D. linguists
  • The name had to be short, since the device is small
  • The letter “z” is really popular among these guys, probably a mistake (not in this case, but many products are hurt by including a “z”)
  • Zune beats iPod by only having one syllable, to iPod’s two

Lots of interesting stuff to be learned about the branding process. What would you have called it? The most original name I can come up with is “Wave”, as in soundwaves, and I know Zune is better than that (although I wouldn’t mind owning a Wave player). Anybody got a good one?
(via Todd Bishop)

Also, Ed Bott calls out Om Malik for reviewing the Zune poorly based entirely on negative reviews around the web. While many bloggers are doing that (and I’m basing my opinions, which are in the middle, using the same process), Om is an egregious offender because he has a Zune! Microsoft sent him a Zune, but Om was too depressed by the reviews to give it a chance. He eventually did open it, and was a little less negative, but Ed puts it perfectly:

I’ve never seen a more graphic representation of the Silicon Valley Echo Chamber in action.

Om, I’m on the fence on this one. How about sending me the device? :-)

November 17th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows Media, Zune | one comment

Hotmail Increases Storage To 1 Gigabyte

Microsoft has increased the storage space in Hotmail to one gigabyte, bringing it in line with what Yahoo Mail offers. Gmail currently offers 2,785 gigabytes, a number that literally increases every day. This is the third time Microsoft has increased the storage for Hotmail recently, first to 25 megabytes, then 250 megabytes, then now.

One question: Why not wait for the wide release of Windows Live Mail to do a major storage increase? The obvious answer: Live Mail won’t be going wide for a while, and Microsoft got sick of waiting (and pressure from users). Live Mail, while a great webmail client with an amazing interface, is still not ready for prime time, a typical Microsoft project too ambitious for the real world. Just like with Longhorn, they decided to do something revolutionary, and are discovering that it takes a long time to do that sort of thing.

November 17th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, MSN, Windows, Hotmail, Live, Mail | no comments