First thats talk about some facts. XBox is massive money losser for the Redmon beast in fact Microsoft has never made money from system. It in the same money league as Office but unlike Office it makes a lost. That is a seriours amount of money and even Microsoft can not allow this to go on.
Now the Playstation saved Sony. Long story short but Sony where in massive deats, so much so Sony nearly had pull the plug on Playstation (1) at 11 hour as there where having problems with cash flow for the group. Well thats walter under bridge now. Most of money Sony made from Playstation (1) went on paying back some of lones they had. When came to Playstation (2) Sony was still a bit weak, they had to sell of some parts of business to pay to launch Playstation (2). As well all know Playstation (2) was even bigger success then Playstation (1). Today Sony is better looking then ever.
It well know fact that both Sony and Microsoft sell hardware at a loss. This is nothing new in fact all moble phone business sell there phones at loss. Also daily news papers do this as well the price you pay buy daily paper is no where near it ture price there make there money from the add's in there.
No point in arguing that M$ has a bigger checkbook then SONY because it's 100$ fact. When Vista launches their piggy bank will get a whole hell of alot fatter.
Now when you wana go console vs console, their is nothing to go on but clear cut facts and you cant win soley on hardware or software alone. So many factors including affordablitiy, marketablility, ease of use, pre exisiting customer base....
From the great many consoles and handhelds before this we have learned that there are no constants in the video game industry. If your machine is superpowerful but has crap games no one will want it. If your machine is underpowered but has a couple good games then some people will want it but not alot. You need both, you really do. You can see compaines doing complete 180's on this too. Look at the dreamcast, plenty of games but underpowered... go back a gen to saturn... lots of power but no good games.
Yeah, as companies themselves, MS beats the heck out of everyone. For consoles it's not that clear cut either. While MS does continue to make a small loss getting xbox 180s and 360s in peoples homes, they can afford to do it. Sony WILL take a loss initially (probably for a year or two) with the PS3 simpiliy due to the massive new cell tech + blu ray drives. Seeing how Sony has already commited to playing on a fair field against Xbox 360 price-wise (which would mean a $300-$400 PS3), Sony probably stands to lose more per console than MS does...