Microsoft offers 36 month warranty to tackle Xbox 360 failures

By Craig Zammit

WASHINGTON: Microsoft has reacted to the barrage of bad press concerning the reliability of its Xbox 360 gaming console by announcing it will introduce an extended warranty globally which triples the current 12 months warranty offered.

“You’ve spoken, and we’ve heard you. Good service and a good customer experience are areas of the business that we care deeply about. And frankly, we’ve not been doing a good enough job,” said Microsoft corporate vice president, Peter Moore, in a statement on the company’s website.

“We have been following this issue closely, and with on-going testing have identified several factors that can cause a general hardware failure indicated by three flashing red lights on the console.

“To address this issue, and as part of our ongoing work, we have already made certain improvements to the console. We are also implementing some important policy changes intended to keep you in the game, worry-free,” he said.

Effective immediately, all Xbox 360 consoles will now covered by “an enhanced warranty program to address specifically the general hardware failures indicated by the three flashing red lights on the console”.

The standard 12 month warranty will still apply in all cases except for those which concern a console displaying the infamous ‘rings of death’, indicating hardware failure.

“Microsoft will repair the console free of charge – including shipping – for three years from the console’s purchase date. We will also retroactively reimburse any of you who paid for repairs related to problems indicated by this error message in the past,” Moore said.

“If we have let any of you down in the experience you have had with your Xbox 360, we sincerely apologise. We are taking responsibility and are making these changes to ensure that every Xbox 360 owner continues to have a great experience.”

The new warranty scheme should address the concerning trend of Xbox 360 consoles failing in the thirteenth month of use, just outside the warranty period, and will look to curve the allegedly 30 per cent failure rate reported in recent times.

Microsoft will also take a $US1.05 billion to $US1.15 billion pre-tax charge to earnings for the quarter ended 30 June 2007 for anticipated costs under its current and enhanced Xbox 360 policies.

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