Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Wal-Mart Leaks Zune Price 313

Posted by kdawson
from the making-microsoft-scramble dept.
nieske writes, "Engadget reports that Wal-Mart accidentally published online the intended price of the Microsoft Zune; the iPod rival would apparently retail for $284. The price was quickly pulled from the Wal-Mart site. Reports say that Microsoft was flustered when Apple dropped the price for the iPod 30 GB, previously $299, to $249. BetaNews states that 'undercutting the iPod is a major goal of Microsoft's upcoming effort.' Will Microsoft respond to Apple with another price drop?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wal-Mart Leaks Zune Price

Comments Filter:
  • by RootWind (993172) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:16AM (#16152803)
    • by rbarreira (836272) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:19AM (#16152824) Homepage
      That would be great, but I wouldn't trust a sentence starting with "One of our moles on the inside told us...".
    • by tb3 (313150) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:57AM (#16153063) Homepage
      Is this dumping?

      I'm serious. With their huge cash reserves, Microsoft could enter the market in toilet seats tomorrow, price them at 99 cents, drive everyone else out of business, and drive up the price to $10,000 a seat.

      We've already seen them put Netscape out of business by giving away the browser, so can Apple (or any other manufacturer) cry 'foul' and accuse Microsoft of dumping? What are the laws in this situation?
      • by rbarreira (836272) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:59AM (#16153076) Homepage
        Are freeware writers also dumpers? Do they start being dumpers if they later start charging for their software? Mmmmm...
        • If they're convicted monopolists, then yes.
        • The difference is that software can be replicated at negligible costs. Hardware costs money to produce each one.

          I really don't think that applies as many other businesses "dump" the product but make a tidy profit on the parts and accessories that go with them. I won't state the colloquial phrase for that practice because I think that phrase is dumb and over used.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Arwing (951573)
        The term 'dumping' is usually only applicable to international trade and that's when a country sells goods to another country at a price below cost. The aim for such tatics is usually to destory another country's economy therefore it's usually viewed in negative light. In this case, I don't think the word 'dumping' applies since it's a common practice to sell hardware for cheap and try to gain profit from selling software (xbox and pretty much all gaming consoles).

        I would call this a simple price war, wh
      • by rackhamh (217889) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:16AM (#16153728)
        Is this dumping?

        I'm serious. With their huge cash reserves, Microsoft could enter the market in toilet seats tomorrow, price them at 99 cents, drive everyone else out of business, and drive up the price to $10,000 a seat.

        We've already seen them put Netscape out of business by giving away the browser, so can Apple (or any other manufacturer) cry 'foul' and accuse Microsoft of dumping? What are the laws in this situation?


        Yes, and we all know how Microsoft ran up the price of Internet Explorer once Netscape was out of the picture...
        • by ookaze (227977) <ookaze@NOspaM.mail.ookaze.fr> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @11:45AM (#16153994) Homepage
          Yes, and we all know how Microsoft ran up the price of Internet Explorer once Netscape was out of the picture...

          Yes we know, and for those skeptical people out there, here it is : they ran up the price by not paying anymore people on improving Internet Explorer. Which means that before, the price of Windows included the cost of the dev team on IE. After Netscape was out of the picture, the price of Windows didn't include that cost anymore, but was still the same.
      • by Garabito (720521) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @12:05PM (#16154163)
        I'm serious. With their huge cash reserves, Microsoft could enter the market in toilet seats tomorrow, price them at 99 cents, drive everyone else out of business, and drive up the price to $10,000 a seat.

        It would give a new meaning to "per-seat license"

    • They need to bring the price down even more and also make the Zune a wearable head piece, kind of like Billy boy is wearing on the icon above. Tight.
  • Not true (Score:5, Informative)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:17AM (#16152806) Homepage
    David Caulton, who works on the Zune at Microsoft, has already said [zunester.com] (more than once) in his blog:

    A commenter mentioned that they'd "read" that Zune would cost more than the 30GB iPod. I can only say: Don't believe everything you read. I can't specifically talk about price, but I can say that Zune won't be undercut on price by iPod.

    And:

    I can't say more than what I've said, but the statements "The iPod 30GB costs $249" and "Zune won't be undercut on price" are pretty clear on that point ;)
    • Re:Not true (Score:5, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:54AM (#16153035) Homepage Journal
      The problem for MS is they can't stand to lose too much on the sale of each Zune. While sellling the xbox at a loss they recover (somewhat) in the sale of games. They don't have a profitable music service which will compensate for losses on the Zune. Again they'll take a huge loss to get into a new market. But with the Zune they have no way to recover costs later unless they eventually raise the price.
      • by rbarreira (836272)
        They don't have a profitable music service

        Why do you assume they won't have it when the Zune comes out?
        • by tb3 (313150)
          Are you an idiot? or a troll? Microsoft doesn't have a profitable music store. MSN Music, Urge, whatever else they have, they're not profit centers. What the hell makes you think they'll magically become profitable the day Zune goes on sale?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rbarreira (836272)
            Are you an idiot? or a troll?

            The same to you. And I hope you're a troll, because if you're an idiot, you're very idiot. Did apple have a profitable music store before iPod?
            • Re:Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

              by tb3 (313150) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:24AM (#16153262) Homepage
              No, because Apple didn't have any online music sales before they launched the iPod. Then they did iTMS, and it worked.

              Microsoft, on the other hand, has tried numerous times to sell music online, and failed each time. That's their track record. What part of that is so hard to grasp?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward
                Wait a minute, people have been posting a theory on /. for years that Apple has NEVER made money from iTMS since it opened for business.

                Running with that in mind, my thought was that for Apple to continue to operate like that, they would have to keep selling iPods at a higher % above cost over and over again to make up the difference or increase the cost of songs (which may cause a negative effect on sales and profit). Well, now enter competition and Apple recently released some minor changes to existing m
            • by Gulthek (12570)
              No. But Apple also didn't have a string of failed online music stores behind them.

              I don't understand how you go from "MS Music Store: Failed", to "Different MS Music Store+Zune: Success" without a significant leap of faith.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Ooble (917932)
          For the same reason the iTunes Store doesn't really make much profit: the recording industry takes too much out of the revenue. the iTunes Store only exists to sell iPods, and I can't see Microsoft's store being any different.
          • by rbarreira (836272)
            the iTunes Store doesn't really make much profit

            Sorry, who was talking about making much profit except for you?
      • Re:Not true (Score:4, Interesting)

        by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:19AM (#16153224)
        Two words: X Box. Four more words: Two billions dollars lost. Including game sales.

        Microsoft can bleed money, and not even notice it. More than that, the COGs of the Zune will fall, and, unlike the XBox, but like the XBox 360, Microsoft will be able to recoup those losses later on. MS is many things, but unwilling to learn from its mistakes is not one of those things.
        • How will Microsoft recoup losses to the Zune later on? They're not going to sell CDs for $50 like xbox games.

          And since when has Microsoft learned from their mistakes? For decades they've been losing money on every venture except their core business. They continue to use the same business practices that landed them in court numerous times. They continue to make insecure software. I have never once seen the company learn from a mistake because they fail to acknowledge they've made any.
    • by oohshiny (998054)
      He also said "don't believe everything you read"... that may apply to what he himself has written :-)
  • by Secrity (742221) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:18AM (#16152819)
    It seems that the Zune has a use after all, as a method to get Apple to reduce it's prices on the iPod.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kaleco (801384)
      It may be a loss-leader though. We know the stories about Apple (ab)using cheap labour to maintain the iPod's profitability at the moment, so I don't know if they can afford to go any lower than their current prices. Microsoft may be using their position to deliberately push Apple into a crisis.
      • You will be crazy to think MS is not using forgen labor to make these thing. I Really doubt that you have a team of American Factory Workers at $20 an hour for 8 hours a day with full benefits. Vs. Some other contry doing the same work for 12 hours a day at $2 an hour and no benefits. A lot of this "Abuse" stuff is basicly due to American Values. Other countries these workers are happy to work at these rates because it is better then starving.
        • by kaleco (801384) <greig.marshall2@bt i n t ernet.com> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:23AM (#16153253)
          Both companies will be making similar products at similar cost (using cheap labour etc). Apple has to maintain profitability on the iPod since it's a core Apple product, whereas Microsoft can afford to sell at cost or maybe a small loss in order to put strain on Apple. I would have thought this was illegal, but since it's standard practice in the console industry I'm not so sure. I think Apple is reorganising its iPod product, though. The Nano is being repositioned as the bread-and-butter line with the iPod being sold as a sort of 'premium' product. The Zune will come off second best to the Nano since most people don't want to socialise with their technology (mobile phones aside :P). An MP3 player is something you use when you are going somewhere, at the gym, bored or whatever, and not something you want to play around with infront of your friends swapping DRM'ed files and watching video. The raison d'etre for a digital audio player is... music, and by all accounts the Nano does this well. It's difficult to add value beyond that. In short, the Zune has arrived just as the HDD iPod has left the stage.
      • by Keebler71 (520908) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:09AM (#16153145) Journal
        Microsoft may be using their position to deliberately push Apple into a crisis.

        What position would that be? They hold precisely zero percent of the mp3 player market share. Unless you are implying they are going to use their marketshare in OS to bolster their product - which is a pretty specious arguement if you ask me given that iTunes/iPods work great with windows. Now, if MS starts messing with things that give iTunes/Windows integration issues -then you have a pretty solid case. Of course that raises an interesting point... how well does Apple support Play's For Sure devices on its platforms? I'd wager less well than MS supports Apple products...

      • by Secrity (742221)
        Microsoft may be using their position to deliberately push Apple into a crisis.

        Apple isn't the first competitor that MS has bullied into a crisis. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Even more interesting will be what happens in the EU, the EU government may not let MS get away with pushing it's only major competitor in the portable music market into a crisis.
        • Yes, quite so, but it seems like the EU is currently turning up the heat on Apple too over its DRM.
          • by Secrity (742221)
            Good point. Depending upon how MS structures it's music download service, MS may have the same EU regulatory problems over it's DRM as Apple. I think that France backed down on it's objections to Apple's DRM, though.
      • by eclectic4 (665330) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:21AM (#16153237)
        "We know the stories about Apple (ab)using cheap labour to maintain the iPod's profitability at the moment"

        Trolly troll. *sigh* I'll feed you...

        Microsoft will also be (ab)using cheap labour to maintain profitability, it's how business is done. The shirt you are wearing, the computer you are typing on, etc... were all made using cheap foriegn labour. Apple voluntarily investigated the accusations, hired a third party to oversee, and has since been shown to be largely false. If Apple "abuses" anything, it's cornering the market on components

        "Microsoft may be using their position to deliberately push Apple into a crisis."

        Actually, it seems Apple dropping their prices has actually pushed Microsoft into a "crisis". Apple holds 75% of the digital music playing market, and it accounts for about 40% of their profits (all other coming from Mac and software sales). I'm not sure you know what you are talking about.
        • by kaleco (801384)
          I'm not trolling, I acknowledge that Microsoft will do the same. I mention this in a reply to another poster who replied to the same comment. Just because other companies are going to abuse cheap labour too doesn't make it right. FTR, I am a happy iPod and Mac owner and have nothing against the company. Finally, yes, Apple is in the position of strength at the moment, but Microsoft is mustering a storm which will be testing for Apple in the coming months. I expect MS will fail and Apple will consolidate i
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:19AM (#16152821) Journal
    Microsoft isn't going to do squat with the "Zune" for one reason alone. The thing is called "Zune". What does that mean to anybody? Must have been some real genius that came up with that one. I wonder if the package is going to look anything like this? [google.com]
  • by el_womble (779715) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:19AM (#16152823) Homepage
    How will Microsoft survive where they can't rely on piracy and an existing monopoly to gain marketshare (office), can't sell the hardware as a loss leader (xbox), and can't rely on others to sell it for them (windows).

    Does this have a successful precident for Microsoft?
    • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:29AM (#16153297)
      The product it is leading is Vista.

      In the 1990's Microsoft spent thousands of man-hours creating a pen operating system that died on the vine. It was a pure cost to the company, no profit. But the key point is that it died AFTER the GO Penpoint operating system died. Martin Eller, one of the Microsoft staff involved, even has a quote in his book [amazon.com]:

      "This wasn't a thing about making money. This was all about 'block that kick.""

      Apple makes money selling iPods, but the big play for them is the iPod halo effect to sell more Macs. Macs (and Mac software) are much more profitable than an iPod. The release of Vista, with all its associated angst, represents a big opportunity for Apple. Microsoft will fight that halo effect with everything they've got, even if they have to lost money on every single Zune. They make their money from Windows, and this is all about protecting the Microsoft market (and mind) share.
  • It's doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:21AM (#16152838)
    Let's be honest here.
    Ipod is synonamous with MP3 player now. Even grannies going to the shops for their grandchildren will ask for an iPod by name. We say podcast, podcasting. I can't see people Zunecasting. Unless the Zune offers something substantially better or a great and highly compelling new feature (Actually, I've just thought of one, maybe I should copyright it right now..) no-one else has thought of then it's just not going to sell. The only hope MS have is to back it up with an extremely cheap song purchase system but I can't see them doing that without oodles of DRM involved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by condensate (739026)
      I do not quite agree. I think there are many MP3 Players around, many of which offer more functionality and more ergonomic designs.
      The point is that there are many alike, but there is only one iPod. That's why it sells and the others are - well - just players. It's just cool to have one.
    • Name recognition isn't everything. It's a huge chunk of something, but it isn't everything, as evidenced by the hundreds of companies selling their own versions of what average consumers know as Scotch Tape, Band-Aids, Jell-O, Coke, Play Doh, Xerox machines, Dumpsters, and so on.
    • I agree.

      The people who disagree with you assume that consumers are smart, savy, and will carefully research products before buying. They're not. They're sheep who revel in impulse purchases and go with name recognition as the leading reason to buy a product. Sorry, but I have no faith in people. Of course, this is ultimately not a bad thing because MS deserves a few failures.
    • Re:It's doomed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:04AM (#16153111) Homepage Journal

      One major killer feature of the iPod are iPod accessories. If Microsoft wants to compete with the iPod, they'll need to be completely compatible with it.

      I have an iPod adapter for my car radio. I hook my iPod up to it and can play directly through the radio. This isn't one of those little "FM radio car adapters" either. It puts the iPod into "control mode" or whatever they call it, and can change playlists and move through the playlist directly though the radio.

      This is good, because the radio is designed to be easy to control from the driver's seat without looking at it. The most used buttons (skip song, volume) are shaped to be easy to tell by touch and are positioned to be within easy reach.

      As far as I know, there is no adapter kit for my radio for any other MP3 player on the market. Only one for the iPod.

      If Microsoft wants to compete with the iPod, the Zune needs to be able to support the accessory market. The iPod may not be the greatest MP3 player ever created, but it has the accessory market, and that provides a lot of value that Microsoft will be missing.

    • by oohshiny (998054)
      Ipod is synonamous with MP3 player now

      Maybe in parts of the US. Around the world, people use lots of different kinds of MP3 players.
      • >Maybe in parts of the US
        I'm not in the US. The only place I can think where it's not likely to be synonamous is China or Japan but I don't know.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:23AM (#16152847) Homepage
    Microsoft can make the Zune as cheap as they like. What made the iPod successful was how easy it was to add songs to it. I haven't seen the software that's going to be shipped with the Zune but I'm guessing it'll be similar to iTunes.

    What I'm interested in though is how Microsoft are going to convert existing iPod owners over to their side. Aren't they offering something like the ability to download (for free) all the songs you have in iTunes onto your Zune from the Zune Marketplace, or are they going to copy all the existing songs from iTunes / iPod onto your Zune?
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:36AM (#16152929) Homepage
      And can you imagine the DRM nightmare that is going to be on that MSFT device? I have clients all the time needing help moving music they ripped on mediaplayer to a new machine. they will not play because they did not set the "dont encumber my music with drm dammit" flag in the advanced settings hidden in mediaplayer. so I haveto explain to them what DRM is and they still do not understand.

      The other biggest failure of the Microsoft device will be that I dont care what service they couple with, iTunes has way more music selection on it that anything Microsoft can come up with.

      I dont love the iPod, I'm a non drm kind of guy with my iRivers... but microsoft is not known for open and easy to use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      The "offer" to replace songs bought from iTunes is still an unsubstantiated rumor that I am aware of. As it is, no one is sure it will play Microsoft's own Plays For Sure format, so why would they do anything for Apple's product? They can't use the iTunes purchased song files, unless they crack the key.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by falcon5768 (629591)
        No its ability to play "Play For Sure" is well known.

        It can't. Microsofts even been on record saying it, which goes into why they sold it off to another company and why a lot of the sites who used it are pretty PO'd at M$.

        • No its ability to play "Play For Sure" is well known.

          It can't. Microsofts even been on record saying it, which goes into why they sold it off to another company and why a lot of the sites who used it are pretty PO'd at M$.
          Is this really true? The only place I have seen this leads back to the EFF saying this based on their interpertation of a marketing sheet.
          • No the market sheet in question leaves it pretty clear. Fairplay and protected WMA and WMV will not play on the device.

            Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264.

            Part of the reason seems to be because of the type of protection the thing uses for that whole share amoung people mode they are loving

    • I haven't seen the software that's going to be shipped with the Zune but I'm guessing it'll be similar to iTunes.

      I'm guessing the software for the Zune will be the pinnacle of usability known as Windows Media Player.
    • by oohshiny (998054)
      What made the iPod successful was how easy it was to add songs to it. I haven't seen the software that's going to be shipped with the Zune but I'm guessing it'll be similar to iTunes.

      iTunes is a mixed bag. If you completely subscribe to its world view, it works nicely. But there are some areas in which it is quite weak. For example, if you use one iPod and two computers, it doesn't work very well, and it keeps creating duplicate songs and entries for many people.

      Overall, iTunes is the typical Apple produ
  • Sexy sells (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @09:28AM (#16152875) Homepage
    Once again on the price, you need to make a product sexy to sell it. The dancing silhouette with the white headphones sold the iPod because it looked good.

    So Microsoft, I propose you do this:

    A dancing Ballmer silhouette.

    My pulse is rising already just thinking about it.
  • Yet another leak? *reminds of this [slashdot.org]*
  • I don't exactly consider the Zune to be an iPod competitor. At least I don't know why an iPod fan boy would buy a Zune. I do however think that Microsoft has an excellent player that is set to compete with Creative, iRiver and all the other major non-iPod mp3 player developers.

    The Zune has a totally different set of features, such as wireless connectivity and such, so if Microsoft sells it for anything less than a 30 GB iPod, it's just going to be another bl*wjob for Steve.
  • Not that anyone wants a Zume, but it would sure be nice to get an iPod more cheaply!
  • xBox, the 360, now the Zune... You have to wonder how long shareholders will allow the company to "invest" in money-losing ventures.

    There's always the hope (for Microsoft) that pouring money into these losers will allow them to drive competitors out of the market. But that isn't really a viable business strategy in the long run. Even the IE/Netscape battle wasn't really won based on Microsoft's ability to compete on price (free)--there was actually a time when Netscape sucked and IE was fairly good. That's
  • Lock-In (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:27AM (#16153283) Homepage Journal
    When the Zune is introduced, it will have a new DRM system, incompatible with the PlaysForSure that Microsoft has been pushing and that many of their partners in WMA are using (from the Wikipedia article on Zune [wikipedia.org]). This is similar to Apple's iPod, which uses FairPlay DRM, which Apple won't license to anyone. The Zune won't support Apple's DRM, and the iPod won't support Microsoft's.

    So, Apple and Microsoft will both be pushing their own portable music players, with music being sold in formats that play nowhere else but in their own products. Hmm, where have we seen that before? Of course, neither of them is going to support the open and superior (in terms of audio quality) Vorbis.

    What's funny about it is that Apple, which one one side professes to be all supportive of open source and open standards [apple.com], has been beating Microsoft at the lock-in game [inglorion.net] on the other side. I guess that battle will soon get a second round.
  • by Damek (515688) <adam@damek.oBOYSENrg minus berry> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:29AM (#16153298) Homepage
    I'm not interested in the Zune unless it can play all the stuff I have now, and connect to everything I have now. I have some MP3s and a whole bunch of M4As (ripped myself, not from iTMS). I also have a couple PCs and a couple Macs. I only got an iPod once it could connect to all the machines. Its usefulness as a removable drive is part of the deal. It's more than just a music player.

    OK, I'm not the average person. The average person is going to say, "well, time to get one of those iPod things," go to Target or whatever and say, "where are your iPods?" A store person is going to point to the MP3 player section, the person's going to see this thing and say, "well, that's the cheap one, I'll get that," and go home and use it.

    That's the kind of person I see buying this. For the chic people, or tech people, the Microsoft brand might be too damaged, plus the player doesn't offer much new beyond the neat photo/song-sharing thing. Sure, the interface is flashy, but from what I've seen that would just get in the way for me.

    The Zune (got what a horrible name, not even sure how to pronounce it) may succeed in being the first real iPod competitor, by sheer force of Microsoft's juggernaut market power, but I don't think it's enough to knock the iPod off its throne.
  • Apple iPod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte@yahoo.TEAcom minus caffeine> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @10:30AM (#16153310) Homepage
    I can't say enough about my 30G Video iPod. I love that thing! It is by far the most useful little device I've ever purchased. I like the interface (for the most part) - it intuitive and easy to use - even my mother and father can use it. I use it everywhere - programming at work, in my Jeep, at home doing choirs, biking, hiking - you name it. I'm soon to buy a clock radio that uses my iPod to wake me.

    I like its weight, too. It seems sturdy enough though I have a rubber case for it with a neck strap that's long enough to fit in my shirt pocket. Although, I did have to stop turning the volume down while it was still in my shirt pocket - spinning a finger around my shirt-pocket-area did elicite a few strange looks (which were promptly explained away - much to their relief!!). ;)

    As for other players...I'm sure they have their pros and cons over the Apple iPod; but, I've grown to attached to Apple's product why should I change? I'm satisfied with iTunes as it works pretty damn well on my systems.

    I'm not a serious Microsoft basher - they put food on my table - but why should I toss all my money at MS when Apple seems to have hit a home run?

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

Working...