Microsoft boosts production of Xbox 360

SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it will significantly ramp up the availability of its Xbox 360 video game consoles, following production problems that have made the popular game systems difficult to find on store shelves.

Beginning this week, the Redmond software maker said it would distribute two to three times as many Xbox 360 consoles to retailers each week than it did before.

The uptick comes as the company has added a third manufacturer, Celestica Inc., and brought component supplies up to full production levels.

In late January, Microsoft conceded that it suffered some production woes after the game system’s late November launch, forcing the company to reduce slightly its original sales forecast for the first 90 days after the console’s launch.

But the company has maintained that it is still on track to ship between 4.5 million and 5.5 million of the consoles by June 30, when its fiscal year ends.

The Xbox 360, the second version of Microsoft’s video game player, became a holiday must-have item, frustrating consumers who weren’t able to get one.

Microsoft shares fell 15 cents to close at $27.74 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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