Microsoft reports Q4 revenues: Xbox sales off, Live subs climb

Microsoft Corp. releases quarterly numbers that put Xbox sales at 13.7 million worldwide, says Live subscribers now measure 750K.

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Microsoft Corp today released revenue figures for the fiscal quarter that ended December 31, 2003--the second quarter of Microsoft's fiscal year, Q4 for everyone else. Overall, the company reported earnings of $1.55 billion for the quarter, an amount off 17 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

Earnings at the Home and Entertainment division, which includes all Xbox operations, fell 5 percent, to $1.27 billion, from the same quarter a year ago. Microsoft reported that Xbox unit sales for the quarter fell 6 percent.

Taking the long view, the Xbox manufacturer said worldwide sales of the console through December 31, 2003, totaled 13.7 million units. Microsoft is holding fast to its target of selling 14.5 to 16 million units by the end of June.

"The last two weeks of Christmas were a little stronger than we had expected, and the first two weeks of December were a little weaker," Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach told Reuters. Recent GameSpot coverage of Sony and Electronics Boutique has shown that those companies reported similar spikes in late-December sales.

Xbox Live numbers are growing according to plan, according to Microsoft. Less than two weeks ago, Bach was still citing Xbox Live subscriber numbers of 500,000. Today, that number was adjusted to 750,000. In a conversation with Reuters, Bach reaffirmed his goal of adding to that tally and reaching the 1 millionth subscriber milestone by the end of June, 2004.

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