Microsoft's PlayStation 2 Envy

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Pity poor Sony. The day before its newest console — easily the most anticipated game machine ever — went on sale in Japan, Microsoft stepped on the PlayStation 2 excitement just as it reached fever pitch. Now a week later the world's richest man is unveiling the same Microsoft game machine at a game developers conference in San Jose, Calif.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft had no plans for developing a gaming console until early last year when Sony announced its PlayStation 2 console. With a DVD player and Internet access, Microsoft execs feared, the new Playstation might give Sony the place in the living room that Microsoft craved. In March 1999, execs gave their blessing to a group of engineers to build a new kind of video game machine out of a stripped-down PC with a hard disk drive. The result is said to feature "movie-quality" graphics that are three times faster than the PlayStation 2. MORE >>