According to the book, Sony, Toshiba and IBM started working on the Cell in 2001 and planned to spend $400 million over five years. If everything went according to plan, the PlayStation 3 would be out by Christmas 2005. In 2002, Microsoft approached IBM about making a chip for what would later be known as the Xbox 360. IBM ended up making a new chip "built around the core" of the Cell it was currently creating for Sony. In the end, Xbox made the 2005 launch (with a time bomb under the hood) and Sony came out a year later.
As the WSJ points out, for all the power and money behind Microsoft and Sony's consoles, Nintendo has outsold both using a "sound strategic vision" with the less-powerful Wii.