Sometimes it takes a really long time, but Microsoft usually does the right thing in the end. Today is no exception. Microsoft has announced that, due to an "unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox 360 consoles", they are covering repairs on consoles experiencing 3 red lights (also known as the Red Ring of Death) for three years. Microsoft estimates that this will cost the company about $1.1B. From the press release:
As a result of what Microsoft views as an unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox 360 consoles, the company conducted extensive investigations into potential sources of general hardware failures. Having identified a number of factors which can cause general hardware failures indicated by three red flashing lights on the console, Microsoft has made improvements to the console and is enhancing its Xbox 360 warranty policy for existing and new customers.
Microsoft stands behind its products and is taking responsibility to repair or replace any Xbox 360 console that experiences the “three flashing red lights” error message within three years from time of purchase free of charge, including shipping costs. Microsoft will take a $1.05 billion to $1.15 billion pre-tax charge to earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2007 for anticipated costs under its current and enhanced Xbox 360 policies.
“The majority of Xbox 360 owners are having a great experience with their console and have from day one. But, this problem has caused frustration for some of our customers and for that, we sincerely apologize,” said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division. “We value our community tremendously and look at this as an investment in our customer base. We look forward to great things to come.”
For any customer who has previously paid for repair expenses related to the three flashing lights error message on the Xbox 360 console, Microsoft will retroactively reimburse them.
Xbox Chief Peter Moore also posted an open letter on Xbox.com. The highlights:
If we have let any of you down in the experience you have had with your Xbox 360, we sincerely apologize. We are taking responsibility and are making these changes to ensure that every Xbox 360 owner continues to have a great experience.
This will take a few days to roll out globally, and I appreciate your continued patience as we launch this program. I've posted an FAQ that should address some additional questions, and we'll update it over the next few days.
I want to thank you, on behalf of all us at Microsoft, for your loyalty.
In case you still have questions, Microsoft has posted an FAQ.
I think this is spectacular news, and shows that Microsoft really does "get it" when it comes to gamers. As someone who recently experienced this problem myself, I'm really excited to get my $150 back. At least I got a brand new console, and I hear it has an updated cooling assembly.