- When Microsoft Corp. announced a mammoth global recall of its Xbox 360 a year ago, the software giant never disclosed the exact source of the game console's heat problem that led to the fiasco.
Now, in an unlikely venue at Design Automation Conference here, Bryan Lewis
, research vice president and chief analyst at Gartner, disclosed that the problem started in a graphic chip. Lewis offered this offhand revelation while discussing the changing ASIC and ASSP landscape for his DAC audience.
The Xbox 360 recall a year ago happened because "Microsoft wanted to avoid an ASIC vendor," said Lewis. Microsoft designed the graphic chip on its own, cut a traditional ASIC vendor out of the process and went straight to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., he explained.
But in the end, by going cheap--hoping to save tens of millions of dollars in ASIC design costs, Microsoft ended up paying more than $1 billion for its Xbox 360 recall.
To fix the problem, Microsoft went back to an unnamed ASIC vendor based in the United States and redesigned the chip, Lewis added. (Based on a previous report, the ASIC vendor is most likely the former ATI Technologies, now part of AMD.)
Asked the moral of the story, Lewis said: "Had Microsoft left the graphics processor design to...