Ingram signs Microsoft after Sony split

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Ingram Micro has signed to distribute Microsoft's Xbox games console, following the severing of ties with Sony Computer Entertainment.

Ingram Micro has signed to distribute Microsoft's Xbox games console, following the severing of ties with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE).

The big distributor had been selling SCE's Playstation 2 product in small volumes to the PC channel since October 2003.

Ingram would sell the new Microsoft Xbox 360 to a bevy retailers which include Harvey Norman, Big W, Toys R Us, The Games Wizards, Dick Smith, Domayne, Electronics Boutique, Target, Myer and Kmart.

The reseller channel would buy the product through All Interactive Distribution.

Michael Ephraim, managing director at SCE Australia, said volumes through Ingram were small and the companies decided to close the relationship "very recently".

"They've gone with Xbox, we have no sour grapes," he said. Sony would handle 90 percent of PlayStation distribution with some sub-distributors in Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane also moving the product to the channel, he said.

Microsoft last month unveiled the Xbox 360, a device that sports a white chassis and wireless game controller. The software giant aimed to debunk Sony's PlayStation with the new product.

Xbox 360 would compete against Sony's forthcoming Playstation 3, which uses a "Cell" processor developed in conjunction with IBM and Toshiba.

"Our competencies in retail and ability to bundle the whole range of converged digital products exactly in the space where Xbox 2 is meant to sit, is essentially why we got the job," said Guy Freeland, the new managing director at Ingram Micro Australia.

Freeland replaced Kerry Baillie, who retired from the industry last month. Baillie officially leaves Ingram on 1 August.

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