Microsoft CEO Ballmer confident Xbox 360 will sell in Japan, touts HD DVD over Blu-ray

“Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer expressed confidence yesterday in his company’s twopronged challenge to Sony in the pivotal markets for videogame consoles and next-generation DVDs,” The Associated Press reports. “Microsoft is banking on its new Xbox 360 gaming device and the high definition DVD format backed by Toshiba to counter rival Sony Corp’s hugely popular PlayStation lineup and its development of an alternative DVD format called Blu-ray.”

“Ballmer, in Tokyo to mark Microsoft’s 20th year of business in Japan, said he is ‘100 percent’ sure the new Xbox will outsell its predecessor and said the HD DVD format is superior to Blu-ray because it is more easily integrated with personal computers. ‘I know for sure, 100 percent, we will do much, much better in Japan than we did with Xbox I, but that wouldn’t be too hard,’ Ballmer said, adding that demand also seemed strong in northern Europe, the United States and Australia,” AP reports. “Despite the popularity of gaming in Japan, Microsoft has not been able to overcome the home-court advantage of Tokyo-based Sony’s PlayStation franchise. As of September, Microsoft had sold 21.9 million of the first-generation Xbox machines globally since introducing it three years ago, but only about 1.8 million of those were sold in Asia, including Japan.”

“Microsoft is also odds with Sony in the war to dominate the market for next-generation DVDs,” AP reports. “Microsoft is part of a consortium including chip maker Intel Corp that supports Toshiba’s HD DVD, while Sony’s Blu-ray format is backed by PC makers such as Apple Computer Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell… Ballmer also downplayed support for Blu-ray recently shown by such movie studios as The Walt Disney Co, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM.”

Full article here.

[UPDATE: 5:25pm EST: Added photo of Microsoft CEO at MacDailyNews reader big 1’s request.]

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This is what happens when you let the sales guy run the company.

FYI: Blu-ray’s disks will hold at least 50 gigabytes and perhaps 100 gigs or more. HD DVD will start at 15 gigs, and top out at 45. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) is responsible for establishing format standards and promoting and further developing business opportunities for Blu-ray Disc — the next-generation optical disc for storing high-definition movies, photos and other digital content. The BDA has more than 130 members. Its Board of Directors consists of Apple Computer, Inc.; Dell Inc.; Hewlett Packard Company; Hitachi, Ltd.; LG Electronics Inc.; Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Panasonic (Matsushita Electric); Pioneer Corporation; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.; Sharp Corporation; Sony Corporation; TDK Corporation; Thomson; Twentieth Century Fox; and Walt Disney Pictures and Television. HD DVD’s list of backers includes such names as Microsoft, Toshiba, NEC, Viacom, NBC Universal, and Time Warner among others.

Related articles:
Forrester Research: Apple-backed Blu-ray will win over Microsoft-backed HD DVD – October 20, 2005
BusinessWeek: ‘it looks as if HD DVD’s days are numbered’ – October 07, 2005
China to develop own as-yet-unnamed DVD format; Blu-ray vs. HD DVD vs ? – October 07, 2005
Paramount’s decision gives Blu-ray slight lead over HD DVD in next gen DVD format war – October 04, 2005
Record set straight on Blu-ray Disc Association’s superior high definition format – September 29, 2005
Microsoft backs cheaper, less sophisticated, lower capacity HD DVD over Apple-backed Blu-ray format – September 27, 2005
Twentieth Century Fox joins Apple, Dell, HP, others to support Blu-ray Disc format – July 29, 2005
Poll shows Apple-backed Blu-ray preferred by consumers over HD DVD for next-gen DVD standard – July 14, 2005
Microsoft allies with Toshiba on HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc backers Apple and Sony – June 27, 2005
Apple joins Blu-ray Disc Association Board of Directors – March 10, 2005


  1. If I remember correctly, the initial release of Xbox 360 will only include a regular DVD Drive. They should put in the HD-DVD drive sometime next year – and then you will only be able to use HD-DVD for movies. Sony, on the other hand, will ship Blu-Ray out of the gate.

    Seeing how the PS3 will sell tons of these devices within the first year (thus dropping manufacturing costs) the cost advantage HD-DVD will have at launch will be all but gone by early 2007 – at the latest.

  2. The best two “positives” from MS in the last two days:

    – Bragging about having millions of users of Windows AntiSpyware beta. (The insecurity of your OS generating downloads for a “fix” is a good thing?)

    – Justifying a standards choice (HD-DVD) only with the argument that “because it is more easily integrated with personal computers” (Figures. Seems the easy way is ALWAYS the best way for Ballmer & pals, hence the swissOS)

  3. Alice wrote:
    “1: sony to make their own OS”

    It’ll never happen. The world doesn’t need another OS.

    “… and 2: or sony to adopt Apple OS X…?”

    Well the Sony Viao and Apple Macs are already in direct competition. And of course there’s the thorny little issue of Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware.

    Sony is in a tough spot. Seems to me their options are:
    1. Deal with the devil, and keep using Windows
    2. Get out of the PC business (either drop, spin off, or sell the Viao line)
    3. Start selling Apple hardware

    For Sony the safe money is on #1; we’ll see if Sony has the guts to do something better.

  4. Hmmm says:”I thought we hated Sony”

    Right – unfortunately, if MDN is faced with cheering anything Apple does, regardless of whether it contradicts their previous ‘dissing’, they go for the ‘Yea Team’ cheer.

    Well, here’s a little gristle to chew on; Apple recently was surprisingly non-commital on these two formats in a story. Unfortunately, while I’ve been trying like hell to dig up a link, no such luck as yet. Nonetheless, they seem to be committed to BluRay only until they see whether anyone uses it (just like everyone else) and are apparently making real contingency plans for an HD-DVD future … just in case.

    I’ll keep looking for some verification (stickler for accuracy).
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  5. I am with M$ and Ballmer on this. Blu Ray seems too convoluted and smell of “big brother” watching over you. There are reports that Blu Ray drives will be disabled if it detects “non-compliant” DVD’s. That is no ones business, and with Sony’s obsession with DRM, it appears as if Intel and M$ were right- that HD-DVD’s are more consumer friendly. Sony can KMA, but HD-DVD is the way to go!

  6. Don’t forget the big fact here: even MICROSOFT doesn’t really dare to support HD-DVD fully. The X-Box 360 will not have HD-DVD!!!! Unbelievable.

    But the PS3 WILL have Blu-Ray.

    Sorry MS, it’s not even a fight this time. It was when HD-DVD was going to be half-assed but first…. only they aren’t even going to be first anymore.

    Why is MS so drawn to mediocrity?

    This is NOT just about Blu-Ray having bigger storage. The INTERACTIVE stuff Blu-Ray players can do is far superior. Even simple games, right on your movie player.

  7. I still say Ballmer looks (and acts) like the monster from “Young Frankenstein”.

    Gates is passable as Gene Wilder’s Dr. Frankenstein.

    Maybe they can do a remake of the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” scene. Just tell Ballmer to be himself…

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