will arrive as expected.
Denying a rumor that nicked some gaming stocks, a
executive Monday said things are on schedule for the November release date of the company's new gaming console.
"Xbox is absolutely on plan for our Nov. 8 release date here in North America, just as we announced at
gaming conference E3," said David Hufford, marketing manager for Xbox. "We're still anticipating an allocation on that day of 600,000 to 800,000 units and 1 million to 1.5 million by the end of the year."
Markets watchers were chattering Monday that there would be a delay to the game console's release. Some observers said part of the talk may have resulted from Microsoft executives focusing on the Oct. 25 release date of its
operating system during the company's
quarterly conference call last week. Other rumors revolved around a possible shortage of components to build the device. Hufford refuted both scenarios.
The rumors could explain why Microsoft's stock ended down $2.09, or 3%, at $67.09, though last week's revenue warning from the company may have played a role as well. The stocks of game makers
were all lower, as were shares of graphics-chip maker
Hufford said the company didn't anticipate any of the component-related shortages that
experienced last year with its PlayStation 2 console. Microsoft has partnered with contract manufacturer
to produce Xbox. The company has set up facilities in Guadalajara, Mexico, and will begin production of the console in early August. Hufford also said Microsoft's other initiatives will not hurt Xbox.
"Certainly, Microsoft's core businesses are always going to be a source of profitable strength for us, and we're going to continue to talk about the importance of those businesses," Hufford said. "Xbox is a new area, the business model is a new model and the business is separate. But it runs with an equal focus and emphasis. We're very, very hard-core about ensuring that Xbox becomes a success. People are not taking their eye off the ball."
Greg Vogel, a Banc of America Securities analyst, said from discussions he's had with manufacturer's, Xbox should come out on schedule.
"The thing that would delay Xbox would be something like a component shortage, and we haven't seen that," says Vogel, who rates Microsoft shares market performer. "From talking to the contract manufacturers, from what I've heard, it's on time." (His firm hasn't done underwriting for Microsoft.)