I know that what Microsoft is attempting is some what unprecedented, with launching a system in 3 markets pretty much simulataneously. I've read about people who are complaining about artifical shortages and have all these consipracy theories.
I was thinking about it and a simultaneous lanch is probably the best thing that Microsoft could do. At least in terms of maximizing their revenue. They have roughly a six month window until the PS3 comes out. If they followed a typical launch schedule of the US first and then Japan 3 months later and then Europe 3 months after that, then they would only have the Christmas advantage in a single market. When PS3 comes out, we might see a 360 price drop, so this way they get all the die hards to pay full price and get a nice advantage. Will they have shortages? Yes, but this will increase the hype and by launching in three markets it gives a perfect cover story if the shortages were intentional. It also means less advertising is necessary since the news is picking up the launch story rather heavily.