The San Jose Mercury News directed some pointed questions at Microsoft's head hardware man for the Xbox 360, Todd Holmdahl, about the console's failure rate. Though the official deflected most questions, it was what he did not say that appeared most illuminating.
When asked whether the 360 is experiencing a "normal return rate for a console," Holmdahl did not directly answer affirmatively, claiming instead, "We continue to say the vast majority of the people are really happy with it." Previously, the company claimed flat-out that there was nothing abnormal about the return rate.
Further pressed about hard numbers, Holmdahl said he would neither disclose the actual number of 360 units that have failed or required repair. He also would not say what the repair rate was in comparison to the original console.
But when asked point blank why there was such a boiling pot of anecdotal evidence in regard to 360 hardware failures, the Microsoft official simply reiterated a previous line:
"I would go back and say the vast majority of people love their experience.We continue to go back and address all of these issues on a case by case basis. There is a vocal minority out there. We go off and try to address their issues as quickly and as pain free as possible."
Despite the interviewer's repeated prodding, Holmdahl's remaining responses can only be accurately described as repetition of the standard corporate line on the matter: Production details are confidential, and most Xbox 360 owners are happy.