Sony's Playstation 3 will not be released for the all-important Christmas season in Europe, the UK, Russia, and Austral-Asia because of production shortages of the Blu-ray laser diodes. You can hear the sounds of glee coming out of Redmond already. Sony can only make half as many of the 7kg PS3 units as it wanted and these are going to Japan and, by ship, to the USA, both regions which use the NTSC video standard and not the PAL standard used elsewhere.

It's not the first time Sony has delayed the PlayStation 3 launch, again due to Blu-ray problems. But the stakes this time are immeasurably higher. Microsoft already has its Xbox 360 out and the competing Toshiba-led HD-DVD high-definition optical disc product is going to have a relatively clear run in the European market. A Nintendo Wii console will be a launched later this year giving PS3 added market competition.

Toshiba aims to launch its first HD-DVD players in Europe on November 15, with a second player to be released in December. Tosh officials have claimed that more than 10,000 units will be shipped to Europe for the November launch.

Coming after the Dell and Apple Lithium-Iron Sony battery recalls the company's reputation is taking a beating and Sir Howard Stringer could be forgiven for polishing up his CV.

Sony promises PS3 availability for the rest of the world outside Japan and the USA for March. It will have to be outstandingly better at both graphics and games performance to overcome this sales problem. There is now a strong chance, a very strong chance, that HD-DVD will wipe out Blu-ray as a high-definition format and that Sony will become an also-ran Japanese electronics company.