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Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest developer of software and the Xbox game console producer, said Wednesday it expected to have sold more than 10 million of Xbox 360 gaming machines, up from the previous forecast of about 10 million.

“This holiday, we expect to have sold in excess of 10 million units worldwide,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said, according to a news-story by Reuters agency.

That “sold” number refers to units “sold into retail”, which refers to units in transit, units sitting in store inventories and machines sold to consumers, the news-agency noted. Previously, the software giant hoped to ship about 10 million of Xbox 360 consoles by the end of the year, whereas by-mid 2007 approximately 13 to 15 million were expected to be installed. It is unclear whether the number of consoles to be sold in 6-7 months time was also increased.

Also on Wednesday, Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft Corp. indicated at the NASDAQ 18th Annual Investor Program in London, United Kingdom, that the demand towards Xbox 360 and its sales numbers exceed those of the original Xbox several years ago, which means that Microsoft is truly gaining traction on the market of game consoles.

Microsoft Xbox 360 console is based around triple-core microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies featuring unified shader architecture, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine provides a broad set of multimedia capabilities, including high-definition movies and TV programs downloads in addition to games. Microsoft Xbox 360 core without hard drive is currently priced at $299, whereas the model featuring 20GB HDD and wireless controller has recommended price of $399 in the U.S. Microsoft also offers HD DVD add-on drive for the console for $199.

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