Microsoft Fires Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death Whistleblower, May File Lawsuit

Microsoft has faced a great deal of criticism over the widely reported instability of its Xbox 360 console. Now, it's fighting back by firing an employee who contributed to an expose' uncovering the system's predilection for the "Red Ring of Death"--an error code on the Xbox 360's LED-lighted power button signaling that the console is inoperable.

Robert Delaware, a temporary worker for a game testing firm contracted to Microsoft, was fired by his supervising manager at Microsoft for talking without permission to VentureBeat, who broke the story on the system's problems.

Delaware was one of several who spoke to article author Dean Takahashi, but he was the only one not to do so on the condition of anonymity. "He fully knew the risk he was taking, based on multiple conversations I had with him about using his name," claimed Takahashi in a follow-up story today. At present, all references to Robert Delaware have been removed from the original VentureBeat story.

"Clearly, from a legalistic point of view, Delaware broke company policy and it is the company's right to fire him," wrote Takahashi in today's follow-up. In fact, Delaware "expects to face civil charges from his former employer ... and Microsoft as well."

"I don't regret it," said Delaware to Takahashi in a phone call after being fired. "I'll fight it. If they want to come after me, bring it on."

Takahashi, a known insider on the topic of Microsoft hardware, is disappointed by the firing. "When I was thinking about making a difference with our story, this isn't what I had in mind," he wrote.