Friday, December 14, 2007

Microsoft

So, this morning at 6:36am I received the following email from some automated system that was programmed by someone at Microsoft:

This mail is confirmation that you have successfully renewed your subscription to Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership.

Ok! We're good, end of story. No, of course not, I wouldn't be writing about it otherwise.

At 9:35am, I received this email:

We have recently attempted to charge your Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership service to the credit card on file for your account. Please accept this reminder that your credit card has passed its expiration date and needs to be updated.

Luckily I happen to know that yes, the credit card I used originally isn't good anymore. But why did they tell me it worked when it didn't? Can't have much faith in whatever they are doing...

Analysis

Really annoying article at the NYT this morning, about everyone's favorite (yes admit it), the Wii.


Some snippets:
Nintendo has been unable to keep up with demand, costing it hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales.
Well, yes, but, no. The author and editors should be thinking net profit, not gross profit. It's not like Nintendo can just build a new factory for free, there are costs involved.
"It's staggering," said James Lin, senior analyst at the MDB Capital Group in Santa Monica, Calif., who estimates that Nintendo is leaving $1.3 billion on the table. "They could easily sell double what they're selling."
Well, yes, but, no, if it were easy they would do it. Ok ok, he means the selling end, but if you're going to sell something you have to make it first (goods, not services), so don't address the back end without addressing the front end. To be fair, he may have said that, we don't know, the article doesn't indicate if he said anything else about it or not.

Here is another problematic fact:
Nintendo sold 981,000 Wiis in the United States in November, its best month yet, while Microsoft sold 770,000 Xbox 360s, and Sony sold 466,000 PlayStation 3 consoles, the market research firm NPD Group said Thursday.
Fine, all good and true. But the systems have all been available for different lengths of time (saturation issues), cost different amounts, and appeal to different demographics (which the article does point out). It's nice to think, "oh look we have numbers now we know everything" but it is, to use the cliche, apples and oranges and cabbage (ok I modified the cliche). And anyways those numbers, honestly, and I hope you noticed right away, are estimates since they all end in 000. Not that I'd bet they're far off, but still. We don't know how NPD arrived at those numbers. (Why can't we just get the actual numbers from the companies? Don't they like to trumpet their sales? Why not?)

They finally get something right:
Industry analysts suspect that Nintendo is intentionally keeping the supply low to maintain a buzz.
To what extent, who knows, but cache is important. And anyways, one thing the NYTimes fails to note, is the this under-production gets it an article in the NYTimes, for free. Free publicity in the paper of record in the US, about how badly people want the Wii. Wow. Can't beat that.