Microsoft has signed Ingram Micro to distribute its Xbox into the retail channel.
Ingram's nine customers will be Harvey Norman, Electronics Boutique, Big W, Myer, Dick Smith, Toys R Us, The Games Wizards, Domayne and All Interactive Distribution (AID). Other companies interested in reselling Xbox will buy through AID.
Effective as of August 1, the Microsoft appointment will be even more significant when the new Xbox 360 hits the shelves next year. In addition to being a games console, the Xbox 360 will enable users to watch DVDs, store digital music and pictures, and stream digital content.
New Ingram Micro boss, Guy Freeland, broke the news in his first interview with ARN following the announcement that he would succeed Kerry Baillie at the Ingram helm.
Baillie is due to leave the company at the end of August.
"It applies to the current model but it is more exciting that we will be taking Xbox 360 into the retail channel from March 2006," Freeland said. "The consumer electronics domain is very exciting.
"Xbox was a key win for us in that space and Microsoft are already talking to us about how we can help them to create the digital lounge room once Xbox 360 comes through.
"It's an idea everybody has been talking about but I don't think it has really been nailed yet. We are certainly going to be trying."
See next week's ARN for more Ingram news.