In an extraordinary demonstration of its commitment to consumer safety, Microsoft today announced that it will voluntarily replace the power cords on some 14.1 million Xbox consoles worldwide after sporadic reports of electrical component failures that might constitute a fire hazard.
"This is a preventative step we�re choosing to take despite the rarity of these incidents," Microsoft's Robbie Bach commented. "We regret the inconvenience, but believe offering consumers a free replacement cord is the responsible thing to do."
Microsoft released the following statement clarifying the nature of the problem:
"Fewer than one in 10,000 consoles have experienced these component failures, and in almost all instances, any damage caused by these failures was contained within the console itself or limited to the tip of the power cord at the back of the console.
"However, in 30 consoles worldwide, these failures are reported to have caused minor injury or minor property damage. In seven instances, customers reported sustaining a minor burn to their hand. In 23 instances, customers reported smoke damage, or minor damage to a carpet or entertainment centre.
"In all regions except Continental Europe, Xbox consoles manufactured before 23rd October, 2003 require a replacement power cord. In Continental Europe, consoles manufactured before 13th January, 2004 require a replacement power cord."
Customers should go to www.xbox.com, Microsoft said, and click the "Power Cord Replacement for Xbox" link to fill out an order form. Replacement cords will take two to four weeks to arrive, and prior to their arrival customers are advised to switch their consoles off at the mains when not in use. The company has also set up freephone telephone numbers for people who cannot use the web - 0800 028 9276 in the UK, and 1800 923947 in the Republic of Ireland.
"Not all replacement cords that Microsoft supplies to program participants will look the same. Which type of cord is shipped will depend on the date the console was manufactured and the country where it is used," the statement added.