Lawsuit: Microsoft Knew the Xbox 360 Could Damage Discs, MS Admitted Warning Label 'Insufficient'

A recently unsealed document from a lawsuit against Microsoft claims that the console maker's own engineers knew that the Xbox 360 could damage discs if moved while a disc was spinning.

"This is ... information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about," said Microsoft program manager Hiroo Umeno, according to the document. "When we first discovered the problem in September or October (2005), when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem."

While other consoles use similar disc drive technology, the plaintiff in the case argues that Microsoft knew the uniquely-high speed of the Xbox 360 drive--7,500 RPM compared to 4,000 and 3,500 rpm for the PlayStation 3 and Wii, respectively--could lead to the damage of consumer property.

According to the motion, Microsoft considered several fixes to the problem, including slowing the speed of the drive, and implementing a small rubber bumper--the former would have increased load times, while the latter would have cost Microsoft between $35-75 million.

Microsoft finally settled on implementing its disc replacement program for Microsoft-published games, as well as including a warning label with the console. But according to the motion, Microsoft employees admitted in an internal email that the warning label was insufficient.

A Microsoft employee quoted in the motion said that over 55,000 customers have complained of scratched discs as of April 2008.