2001: The Year in Review, part 2 - Page 2
It wasn't all business, however. 2001 was also the year that Microsoft launched its foray into the console games market with the much anticipated Xbox. Launched mid-November and backed by a massive marketing campaign, Microsoft had sold over 1.1 million of the big black boxes by the first few weeks of December. In the run up to Christmas, supplies were short and only the very best behaved boys and girls were likely to have found one nestled among the Harry Potter paraphernalia under the Christmas tree. The good news, though, is that everyone who wants an Xbox should get one in the near future, which is more than Microsoft can say when talking about a profit for the system. They are not expected to see a cent of profit on the Xbox until 2004. Another product of note in this category was the Nintendo Gamecube. That's all I have to say about that.
Microsoft's hype machine for the Xbox may have been in overdrive but it was still made to eat the dust of a two wheeled scooter - codename Ginger - which was unveiled after months of speculation about what the device that would "change our lives" actually was. Coming from the UK, I can remember the same being said about a little three-wheeled recumbent electric tricycle called a Sinclair C5. Have you heard of it? I rest my case.
2001 was also the year that (some) online music moved from a free-for-all to a pay model. At the start of the year, Napster was in the process of being closed down and in December sites like pressplay.com were providing a paid service for downloads. The only problem was that in the middle peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as Kazaa, Gnutella, Limewire and AudioGalaxy were being produced at just a slightly faster rate than the lawsuits to close them down. At the end of the year a 'friend' of mine was still able to get a copy of the Chipmunks Christmas song from one of the free services.