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Microsoft boss says Xbox Series X delay unlikely as coronavirus situation improves in China

Why it matters: With the coronavirus disruption delaying hardware and software releases, some analysts had speculated that the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X wouldn’t make their “holiday 2020” launch dates. But Microsoft’s CEO says fans of its machines shouldn’t worry.

From Switch shipments to new browser versions to Windows 10 updates, the impact of the coronavirus has touched every part of the tech industry. The disruption to supply chains resulted in financial services firm Jefferies Group predicting launch delays for the PS5 and Xbox Series X, with analyst firm DFC Intelligence later echoing those beliefs.

“Coronavirus is likely to have a major short-term impact on the delivery of both systems,” DFC wrote.

In an interview with CNBC, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella was asked if the company would be able to stick to its product launch schedules in the face of ongoing coronavirus disruption. “On the supply side, we are getting back on rails,” said the CEO.

The last few weeks have seen the number of new coronavirus cases in China subside, with no locally transmitted infections reported for several days now. The changing situation has seen Apple reopen all its stores in the country while manufacturing factories are slowly returning to full production, which should mean Microsoft won’t be forced to delay products such as the Xbox Series X and Surface Duo.

Like most companies, Microsoft has seen the coronavirus hit its bottom line. The Redmond firm last month said it won’t reach its revenue guidance range for the quarter for the business division that contains Windows.

Microsoft has also had to contend with the sudden strain put on its cloud infrastructure caused by the number of people now working and studying from home. “If this was a previous generation of data center architectures or software architectures, I don’t think we would have been able to deal with this crisis as effectively as we have been able to,” said Nadella, who has also been working from home.

While those waiting for Xbox Series X will be relieved to hear Nadella’s words, Microsoft and Sony could both find their consoles are in short supply at launch, and prices might be higher than anticipated.

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