Microsoft bilking customers on hard drives

Gizmodo's Mark Wilson, on how Microsoft is shamelessly reaming its customers. It charges $160 for a 120GB hard drive, doesn't offer hard drives in modern capacities, and even takes measures to prevent you from using them.
Inside that plastic shell is a stock, boring-as-hell 2.5-inch laptop drive. And you can find such a drive with 500GB of storage for $90 right now. ... Even though I can technically go through the trouble of installing a sweet, 500GB of storage capable of holding my entire game collection, Microsoft has taken the time specifically to thwart me in that endeavor.

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14 Responses to Microsoft bilking customers on hard drives

  1. Anonymous says:

    I dont have a PS3 but ive seen that you can install a 500GB no problem why is M$ being so difficult

  2. Rajio says:

    Add to this, the fact that customers pay a premium for the actual content which goes on those hard drives, and you realize that they’re having you pay twice!

  3. iwashere33 says:

    well, you can show microsoft how much you care and trade for a ps3. or don’t buy a 360 in the first place.

    my own 360 is currently in for repairs, again. for the second time it has failed. i’ve had two wireless controllers just replaced and the amount of games that make it ‘lock up’.

    in fact i’m gonna ebay my 360 games until i have enough money to get a ps3 and throw in a nice 1TB of SSD.

    BARE MINIMUM, microsoft should start selling a hard drive caddy that will allow me to throw in any sata drive i like. even lock it to that console, but needing to clean out the demos i got last week because i want to check out the latest trailers is just pathetic, so 1997, and a complete root-around because they tell me what i want in a games console (which apparently is advertising on my dashboard)

  4. JoeKickass says:

    “Apple overcharges for upgrades, often to a hilarious degree; but their systems will accept aftermarket parts. The Xbox360 is substantially cleverer(and more evil)”

    Wow, this is great news!! I’m gonna run right down to Bestbuy after work and buy an extra 8GB of space for my iPod touch, that should be about $20 right?

  5. O_M says:

    …A long long time ago, I worked for Summagraphics as a test engineer, and this bit with charging for the old hard drives reminds me of a stunt that the idiots at the home orifice (sic) in New Hampshire pulled with a wax-band poster printer called the “SummaChrome”. Due to a list of technical problems that’s too long and off-topic to go into here, the ‘Chrome was delayed about a year from general release. During that time, the “512 MB Barrier” was broken on IDE hard drives, and overnight prices on 500MB HD’s dropped through the floor; in some cases as much as 75% their original MSRP only a month prior.

    …The problem? against engineering *and* marketing advice – possibly the first time in human history where the two natural enemies agreed with one another – the idiots up at Summa NH had bought thousands of the 512’s for what they thought was a sweet bulk deal – they saved about 18% off of the standard wholesale price. Then, the other shoe fell. It was found that the Chromes ran better with more HD “breathing space”, and the then-new 720’s and 800’s were not only bigger, they were 5400rpm as opposed to 4200rpm, and dumping the print files to the drive for the print queue ran significantly faster.

    …As you can guess, the suits in NH said “tough shit”, and tried to ship the Chrome with those 512’s. Naturally, customers – every. single. one. – saw the scam, and demanded the larger, faster drives. NH said “no way!” for months, and sales on the Chrome – one of two devices that were supposed to restore Summagraphics as the defacto commercial printer manufacturer and put HP in the toilet – never got above a trickle. By the time they finally capitulated, they’d already thrown in the towel elsewhere and did a bit of “Ferengi Engineering” to perform a “merger shuffle” to simultaneously buy out and sell out to CalComp/Lockmart.

    …However, when the expected liquidation sale came in 1996, they still had thousands of these drives that had just sitting in the warehouse in Austin. And to make matters worse, the morons brought in to run the liquidation tried to sell these drives as new in their original MSRP. Last I heard, a local crook who ran his scams through a PC repair shop wound up buying them as part of a bulk lot. Where he tried to sell them – you guessed it – as new, at MSRP. Go figure.

    …So, I can’t help but wonder if M$ got themselves in a similar bulk purchase deal. Remember that when this Xbox was under development, prices on IDE drives that size were getting slashed in the wake of similar price drops on drives of 500 GB or higher, as well as the arrival of SATA/PATA drives of similar sizes. Some purchaser at M$ might have gotten a sweet deal from someone like Seagate(*) looking to dump those drive in bulk, and all M$ is trying to do is empty the parts backstock while price gouging.

    Food for thought, eh?

    (*) Which means the drives will no doubt fail after 14 months have passed, and the contaminants on the platters will have congealed enough to cause fatal head crash. But that’s another story…

  6. Pixel says:

    Don’t forget the removable Memory unit. It is essentially a 513MB flash drive for $30. When was the last time you paid money for a 512mb flash drive? For $30 it should be *at least* 4GB.

  7. xzzy says:

    They gotta pay off that billion dollar fiasco that was the RROD somehow!

    (though to be fair, the 120GB hard drive was priced well before RROD was being addressed, but that’s besides the point)

    The real crime is they’re continually pushing more downloaded content on us (the update this week lets us buy 360 games for download) but are still limiting us to 120GB maximum. Most of us are stuck with a puny 20GB hard drive.

    Here’s hoping they realize their error, and don’t try to push a $1000 1TB hard drive on us.

  8. hectorinwa says:

    MS is so fun to pick on, right?

    As alluded to above, Apple’s been doing this for decades now. Go spec out a mac pro and add some RAM or a HD.

    I guess everyone expects that from them though.

  9. Ryanwoofs says:

    At least I can add any kind of drive and RAM I want to a Mac Pro after I get it, so the comparison fails.

    Now an iMac, Macbook Pro, or Mac mini on the other hand…

  10. phisrow says:

    @Hectorinwa: Apple overcharges for upgrades, often to a hilarious degree; but their systems will accept aftermarket parts. The Xbox360 is substantially cleverer(and more evil):

    “x360 HDD’s contain information on sector 16 about the HDD: the HDD serial number, the model, the firmware version and the size in sectors is stored here. The x360 asks the HDD to identify itself, by sending an ‘IDENTIFY DEVICE’ ATA to the HDD. It will compare the returned information to the info that is stored on sector 16. This information on sector 16 is signed and thus can not be changed.”

  11. JoeKickass says:

    Once again Microsoft is stealing all the best ideas from Apple.

  12. donnyk says:

    I found MS’s overpricing to be pretty lame as well, and after some searching found out I could buy a specific WD hard drive, run some DOS commands on it, and replace it with my Xbox hard drive without any problems.

    I found a guy on ebay (I won’t link because I think it’s not allowed?) who sold entire replacement kits- a screwdriver set, software, instructions, and mostly pre-formatted 120gb hard drive for only $60 with shipping.

    It was super easy to replace the default hard drive… I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking to upgrade. I mean, $60 instead of $150…

    Oh, I did need a memory card to transfer the save game files… so that was an extra 10 bucks.

  13. Enochrewt says:

    As others have pointed out, MS isn’t the only one doing this. Sony keeps pushing proprietary formats and Apple is embarrassingly blatant about it.

    One thing to remember, is that MS was(is?) taking a loss on selling the console RRoD aside, they make their money on peripherals, first party games and licensing. You also can’t buy a new PS3 with 120GB for anywhere close to $300.

    I will admit that I was excited to see that you can down load full Xbox 360 games with the new update August 11th, but then realized that my puny 20GB HDD can barely hold one of them.

    #5: Thanks for the tip on the HD swap, I think this is the route I’ll go.

  14. xzzy says:

    Even more clever.. microsoft stores their copyrighted xbox logo on the hard drive and in the rom, which means if anyone starts distributing hacked versions, they can slap ‘em with a huge infringement suit.

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