A number of complaints from Xbox early adopters had Microsoft scrambling early this week to refute rumors that its new gaming console is defective. Apparently, "hundreds" of the Xbox units sold during the 2001 holiday season had to be returned, and many users reported waiting weeks for the problems to be fixed. An Associated Press investigation into the situation found that users were unimpressed with the customer service they received from Microsoft.
However, it's unlikely that the Xbox has a widespread hardware issue. Microsoft sold over 1.5 million Xboxen during the holiday season, and a return rate in the hundreds is hardly problematic. The real issue now is one of perception: If the users that did have a problem were treated poorly, it'd be easy to create an impression that the product itself was faulty.
Microsoft says, however, that less than 1 percent of Xboxen produced so far were faulty. And Nintendo reports a similar statistic for its recently released Game Cube.