GDDR3 memory to blame for Xbox 360 delays?

Back in December we blogged about a comment made by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, who had said, "... [with] devices based on new chips, there's always the question of what yield will you get out of the manufacturing process of the new chip. We're getting a little less, but not much less than the yields we expected, and we know that the yields we expected will probably outrun supply."

We even went so far as to compare it to the RDRAM memory shortage the PS2 faced during its storied launch; unfortunately, we never took the next logical step to guess it was the 360's memory causing the shortages. Microsoft execs have tried to distance themselves from Ballmer's remarks, offering the generic explanation of general "component shortages." The 360's 512MB of high-speed GDDR3 memory is only manufactured by two companies: Germany's Infineon and South Korea's Samsung. Both companies have been contracted to supply memory for the console; however, Infineon has had trouble producing chips that meet the minimum speed requirements, some suspect leading to an overall shortage.

With 200 suppliers and 1700 components, coupled with sophisticated, cutting edge technology, the launch of the 360 was destined to encounter some problems. If the memory yields are the root of the shortages, will the addition of another manufacturing partner really help alleviate the problem? Or is Peter Moore's "4 to 6 weeks" statement a sign of increasing yields out of Infineon leading to increased production?