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Flogging a dead horse….horse comes to life! Microsoft Ups Xbox 360 Warranty to 3 years

July 6, 2007

When I read that Microsoft are increasing the global warranty on Xbox 360s to a whopping three years from the console’s purchase date, I had to check the calendar but alas, April 1st had already passed.

This is amazing news for Xbox 360 owners everywhere as they now know that their purchase won’t become an expensive doorstop after a year of gaming. The extension to the warranty applies where the console exhibits the flashing three red lights.

Up until now there have been a few changes around and including the Xbox which have lead people to believe that Microsoft knows about problems with the Xbox 360, whether they be manufacturing or design related, but haven’t admitted to anything. This is understandable, as any admission of duffness would result in a sales drop.

Firstly there was the increase in the length of the US warranty period from 90 days up to a year. This involved refunds for those who had to pay for their out-of-warranty repairs.

Next up was the featuring of the Xbox 360 on BBC’s Watchdog programme (here in the UK), about UK consoles dying just outside of warranty and punters having to pay around £85 for a repair. It turned out that across a number of messageboards, people who had unsuccessfully tried to get a ’13th month’ repair were now getting free repairs with no mention of payment.

Some or all newer Xbox 360s are shipping with a Benq DVD drive that is supposedly quieter than its predecessors from Toshiba-Samsung and Hitachi.

More recently it has been noticed that reburbished units from Microsoft are being fitted with an additional heatsink.

There is also the issue of Xbox 360 drives scratching discs which gained the attention of an EU Commissioner who requested an explanation of the problem. I think Microsoft just fobbed her off with a PR-style response as nothing has come of it.

The Xbox 360 has had a troubled start for some, including myself but with an extension to the warranty, at least the console is covered for a more realistic period, considering the problems being exhibited.

While there are refunds for those who have paid for repairs, there is no mention of refunds for those who had purchased an extended warranty from Microsoft. I assume the paid-for warranty would cover other parts not covered under this announcement such as DVD drives, fans, hard drives and peripherals.

I’ve just been listening to the conference call with investors (over at Microsoft Investor Relations) regarding this announcement and one caller asked whether the problems were as a result of manufacturing or design. The response was that Microsoft’s partners have done their job well and the problem is a Microsoft design issue. The caller asked if it can be rectified or re-engineered and was given a ‘yes’.

 

Links:
Joystiq, Kotaku, MS Press Release, Warranty FAQ, Microsoft Investor Relations

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