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Strong Debut for Microsoft Xbox

Microsoft is expected to sell some 300,000 Xbox videogame consoles on Thursday, after a flashy launch that sparks the start of a long difficult drive to score big in the $20 billion interactive gaming industry.

Marking the company’s first foray into the videogame industry, Bill Gates was on hand to sell the first console, and delighting Xbox fans by signing their copies of the game machine. While the initial 300,000 videogame units shipped for launch are expected to sell out, Microsoft plans to send out 100,000 consoles a week, with a total goal of 1.5 million by the end of the year. Over 15,000 U.S. retailers are planning to stock the Xbox. Microsoft is spending some $500 million to hype its powerful new game machine and could lose twice that in the coming years on Xbox in order to stake a claim to the future of consumer electronics beyond the personal computer, analysts said.

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