Tim Harford raises a lot of good questions on the Xbox 360 shortage.
"Microsoft has got it wrong, too, but they have missed out on a far more obvious opportunity. Why didn't they sell their initial supply of Xbox consoles, packaged as a "limited edition," using online auctions? All the while they would promise $300 consoles as soon as stocks were available. Since at an auction the price is set by the buyers, not the seller, Microsoft could have made a killing, absolutely guilt-free, and created no more annoyed, empty-handed customers than they have with their current strategy."