September 9, 2008 / 10:34 PM / 11 years ago

Microsoft Xbox unit sees no consumer slowdown-exec

SEATTLE, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has not seen a slowdown in consumer spending from the slumping U.S. economy at its entertainment and devices division, which includes the Xbox and Zune businesses, the unit’s president said on Tuesday.

“We have not seen, on the consumer side of our business, a slowdown,” Robbie Bach, one of Microsoft’s top executives, said in an interview during a company event.

The businesses under Bach’s watch — Xbox, Windows Mobile, Zune and computer peripherals — are more reliant on consumer spending than other Microsoft divisions such as server software or even the Windows operating system.

The Xbox business has been doing very well, according to Bach, who noted that the video games business moves on new release cycles and not economic ones. He also said he expects Xbox to have a strong holiday shopping season.

Bach was speaking at an event for the company’s computer mouse and keyboard division. Microsoft introduced a new mouse that incorporates a new tracking technology called “BlueTrack,” designed to let the mouse work on various surfaces.

“We’re going to reinvent our entire mouse business starting today,” Bach said at a news conference.

The new mouse emanates a blue beam light, not a red laser like its current top-end mouse. The Microsoft Explorer Mouse and Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse will be available later this year for $99.95 and $79.95, respectively.

Bach also addressed Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) new line of iPod music players. He said Microsoft wants to build on the Zune’s positives — recognized brand name and high customer satisfaction — to close the share gap with Apple.

He touted new Zune features, introduced by Microsoft on Monday, as part of its third-generation Zune digital music player, due out next week, that allows users to buy and download songs from the built-in radio tuner in the device.

“Apple has an advantage of strong market share position and that’s a challenge for us,” said Bach. “The value of Zune over time will transcend across everything we do in entertainment and devices.”

Shares of Microsoft closed down 2 cents to $26.10 on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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