A valiant attempt to get Xbox 360 failure rate answers

Dean Takahashi from the San Jose Mercury News recently sat down with Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft's man in charge of the quality for the Xbox 360. Takahashi is another reporter trying to get Microsoft fessing up to the actual failure rate of the Xbox 360, a machine that many enjoy and continues to show its worth, but has an anecdotally tragic failure rate. It would probably make a great chapter if Takahashi ever follows up his book Xbox 360 Uncloaked. Takahashi does his best get answers in the interview to what's really going on with the system's failure rate, but if you've ever wondered what corporate stonewalling looks like, make sure to read the full interview.

Highlights from the interview after the break

Some examples:
Q: Your returns as a category. Is there any No. 1 reason for a return?
A: There are no systematic issues. The vast majority of the people just love the product, have a great experience with it. When there is an issue, we get on it and address it as quickly as possible.

Q: I've heard varying accounts of what is considered a normal return rate. Some people say that 2 percent is normal. Sometimes 3 percent to 5 percent is considered normal. Back to that question, can you address whether you are within those rates or within a normal rate.
A: We don't disclose the actual number.

Q: What explains this anecdotal evidence that it's out of whack, compared to the Wii or the PlayStation 3 or other consoles.
A: 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.

Takahashi keeps drilling Holmdahl and attempts every imaginable angle to get a straight answer -- all attempts fail. He ends the interview saying to Holmdahl that he believes the quality of the Xbox 360 console is the "critical issue for this whole generation." Holmdahl responds that "customer happiness" is one of his top responsibilities. Remember everyone, as Peter Moore said, don't focus on the Xbox 360's failure, focus on its repair. Should we ever expect to hear the truth about the Xbox 360's failure rate?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.