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Microsoft Boosts Xbox Shipments

To ease shortages, the company also said it has added a third manufacturer of the console.

Microsoft Corp., which stumbled in meeting demand for its Xbox 360 game console following its release in November, said Tuesday it is shipping two to three times more consoles to retailers starting this week.

The Redmond, Wash., company also said that it has added a third manufacturer of the console. Celestica Inc. has joined Wistron Corp. and Flextronics Corp.

"Today we have turned a major corner," Peter Moore, a vice president in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, said in a statement.

Indeed, shortages that started soon after the release of the game console, No. 2 in the market behind Sony's PlayStation, created a boon for sellers on EBay Inc. Xboxes that normally sold for either $299 or $399, depending on the model, were selling on the online auctioneer at an average price of $718.

During the first week following its release, the Xbox was selling at a rate as high as 1 every 13 seconds, leading to tight supplies in the United States and in Europe.

Microsoft announced the boost in shipments about a week after Sony delayed the release of PlayStation 3 until November, a year after Xbox hit stores. The delay has given Microsoft time to snag customers who may decide not to wait for Sony.

Microsoft on Tuesday also said it plans to expand its games portfolio for the Xbox this spring, with 80 games available by June.

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