3. The blockbuster release of Xbox 360
We're all familiar with the notion that printers are sold at a loss in order to capture new, technologically captivated customers for inks, pigments, and accessories. But we're just now becoming acquainted with the idea that a game console can, and perhaps should, be sold at a similar loss to create new customers for game software. It's a big gamble; unlike the case with printers, if you're the console manufacturer, there's no guarantee the game software customers purchase will be yours. Even more importantly, though, is the question of whether you're capable of manufacturing enough consoles to keep up with demand to create enough customers to support your business. Some would say, if you're Microsoft, the threat of not being able to support your business isn't much of a threat. But when you're in danger of losing territory to a competitor like Sony, that's indeed somewhat of a threat. And many would argue that the days of Microsoft's monopoly over any market it does business in, have either already ended (operating systems), are coming to an end (everyday applications), or never happened to start with (online services, game consoles). Despite the long lines of campers who probably remain parked outside of Best Buy at this very moment, it's premature to call November's release of the Xbox 360 as necessarily a success.
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