Xbox adds to Gates' woes

Bad news for Bill Gates this week. First the news broke that he has been knocked off his 'world's richest man' perch by Mexico's Carlos Slim. Now he has had to deal with the news that Microsoft will be paying out more than $1bn to repair problems with its Xbox 360 games console, which causes a hiccup dubbed by the world's gamers as the 'red ring of death'. Ouch.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The problem, which causes the consoles to freeze up, is certainly bad news for the gamers, but at least it may encourage today's yoof to go outside and get into some good old-fashioned mischief - a chance to swap mowing people down on Grand Theft Auto for a decent game of knock-down ginger and a spot of apple scrumping.

For Microsoft, however, there's no such upside. Its console already faces stiff competition from Sony's Playstation 3 and Nintendo's smash hit Wii; now if its hardware is starting to pack in it doesn't bode well for the Zune, the company's attempt to expand into music players and steal the thunder from Apple's iPod. For a lot of Microsoft's customers, it looks like the answer to the company's old slogan 'Where do you want to go today?' will be: 'to the computer repair shop, please'.

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