X360 not getting built-in HD-DVD

Microsoft issues rare denial.

Microsoft has denied that it plans to announce a new Xbox 360 model featuring a built-in HD-DVD player following widespread speculation.

UK gadget site Stuff.tv and Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley have fuelled excitement about Bill Gates' final Consumer Electronic Show keynote - taking place later tonight - with speculation that the company has a new model to unveil or may consider licensing the Xbox platform to other electronics companies.

Microsoft isn't having any of the HD-DVD bit though. "We have reiterated multiple times since launching the Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player that we have no plans to integrate an HD-DVD player in to the Xbox 360," a spokesman told GameSpot. "We feel that offering the drive externally is the best way to give consumers the ultimate choice to create their own high-definition experiences."

Whatever Gates does have to say, he is bound to want to go out with a bang ahead of his change of job later this year - the current Microsoft chairman has said he will go part-time in July 2008 to pursue his philanthropic efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - and while the Microsoft statement rules out one strand of the rumour it does not address Dudley's contention that the Xbox platform is set to be licensed to others.

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