We didn't expect Friday 13th to be Microsoft day, but it seems to be turning out that way. Robbie Bach has continued the interview in which he first examined the PSP as a cautionary tale
. This time he admits to the biggest complaint Microsoft receives regarding the Xbox 360. We also get to see some world-class spinning - maybe he's in competition with newly promoted Shane Kim
for best reframing of a situation.
So, what is the biggest complaint about the Xbox 360 according to Robbie?
"The No. 1 complaint I get from people is that it is taking you too long to fix the console."
A free and frank admission and we praise Bach for it. He then responds to a question about whether he's surprised that 360 owners can be on their fourth bricked console and we see a man at the very top of his game. He's not surprised, because "It speaks to the power of the product offering and service we provide. Thatís my point. In the ordinary course of something like this, you would expect it to show up in the customer reaction data. We just havenít seen that.
"It speaks to the fact that they love their games and Xbox Live. Does it frustrate them? Yes. On the other hand, they know weíre taking care of them. People have a certain amount of respect for that. If it had happened on a product that had less baseline customer satisfaction, it would have had a bigger impact. We really havenít seen that."
Superb. The fact that you can have a product that breaks down is "power of the product". That is indeed why he's on the big bucks.
Robbie's also capable of damning with the most elegant faint praise. In May this year Sony CEO Sir Howard of Stringer said that the PS3 was no longer on 'life support'
. Here's Robbie's take.
"If not being on life support is the metric for success, then I guess theyíre successful."
What of Nintendo though? The fact that the Wii is wiping the floor (or the air) with the competition has even got to Bach. However, it's not about the Wii console or the fact that a new set of gamers have been reached. Nope. Bach says, "Nintendo has done great things with the controller."
Does this mean that Microsoft might want to head in the same direction? "There is no magic sauce there. Itís a little trickier to add midway through the cycle because you have to have game developers on board and the right content available", says R.B. Magic sauce, we like the idea of that. However, this is certainly not a denial or confirmation of the Microsoft Wii-a-like controller. That is genius marketing speak.
Who is going to win the console war? Well, apparently not Sony. With Microsoft's product offering so good and Nintendo doing so well, "Four or five years ago, most people would have said three console makers could not be successful. Thatís the likely outcome now."
You can read and enjoy Robbie B's take on life over on Venture Beat
- if you can come away with any actual facts, we'll buy you a pint of something.