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Zune — $249.99 On Nov. 14 355

Posted by kdawson
from the no-price-war-on-songs dept.
Cubricon writes, "As expected, Microsoft has dropped their price on the Zune in response to Apple's recent iPod updates. Ars Technica has an article that discusses the Zune's use of Microsoft's prepaid 'points' system for songs. Will the masses notice the difference between an iPod and a Zune? Will they want the FM and wireless capabilities?" The Zune lists for $0.99 more than the comparable iPod and songs from the Zune Marketplace will cost just under $0.99.
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Zune — $249.99 On Nov. 14

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:04PM (#16236883)
    Wireless. Same amount of space as an iPod. Lame.
  • FM... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:05PM (#16236895) Homepage Journal
    Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Flooding, Volcanos (like Mt. St. Helens) happen, and you need a way to receive emergency information about which way to run.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:19PM (#16237129)
      Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver. Hurricanes...

      Yeah, hearing rhetoric, empty promises and outright lies live over the air while you're up to you ears in alligators would be a heckuva plus.
    • Re:FM... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:19PM (#16237137)
      Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver.

      Yes, but FM? I think AM will be more useful.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by westlake (615356)
        Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver.
        Yes, but FM? I think AM will be more useful.

        Ramsey Electronics [ramseyelectronics.com] sells 50 watt LPFM stations in a box starting at $4000. Low power demands. Instant set-up. Freedom from interference.

        That powerful AM radio station may be trying to provide regional or multi-state coverage when you need something much more focused. That is the FM advantage.

    • by ruiner13 (527499)
      "Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Flooding, Volcanos (like Mt. St. Helens) happen, and you need a way to receive emergency information about which way to run."

      Fuck running, i'm stealing a Hummer H1 with a radio and killing 2 birds with one stone (and anyone who won't move out of my way)!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tycho (11893)
      If you are concerned about not having an FM radio with your iPod, there is the iPod FM radio remote. While it is not exactly cheap at, $50, there are battery radios that are less expensive than the Zune or the iPod. Of course as long as you are speaking about emergency radios, then everyone should have a shortwave radio in case of nuclear war or meteor impact. Not there is much to do in the case of global devestation, aside from dying of radiation sickness or dying of starvation.
    • Re:FM... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:28PM (#16237291) Homepage
      Seriously, what's the deal with people hating FM radio? I spend my whole day at work listening to BBC Radio 1. Sure, their daytime playlist is quite limited, but they do play some new music in the evenings, but I mainly tune in for the DJs. If anyone in the US has Sirius(?), tune into Radio 1 and give Chris Moyles a listen.
      • Re:FM... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @07:18PM (#16238789)
        Seriously, what's the deal with people hating FM radio? I spend my whole day at work listening to BBC Radio 1. Sure, their daytime playlist is quite limited, but they do play some new music in the evenings, but I mainly tune in for the DJs.

        You're obviously not an American, and haven't listened to FM radio much in America if you've ever visited here.

        Let me educate you a little. Here in America, where we talk a lot about businesses and competition and capitalism, we're actually not much different from the Soviets: all the FM radio stations in the country, except for those playing NPR (National Public Radio--like an extremely watered-down BBC), are owned by a single company: ClearChannel. This company decides what we all listen to, and plays the exact same thing on every station across the country. So they'll have a couple of country music stations, a rock station, etc., in each metro area, but it's playing the same crap that every other station of that format is playing, whether you're in Florida or California or North Dakota. Even worse, each station only plays about 10 songs, in a continuous loop; the only time you'll hear something new is when ClearChannel is working with the RIAA to brainwash us into buying some new album, and they have to update their loop with the one song they'll ever play on that album. Lastly, while a lot of your media is controlled by the BBC, it seems to actually care about producing quality media, or at least trying to. BBC News is world-renowned for being one of the best news outlets (you'll never find that reputation among any American news sources). Here, there's no such pursuit of quality at all. You can forget about any good DJs on the radio, since the DJs don't decide which songs to play anyway (that's decided by the upper management).

        As for Sirius and XM, I'm surprised ClearChannel hasn't lobbied our politicians to make that stuff illegal.
        • I avoid FM radio like the plague most of the time, but it's not quite as bad as you're painting it.

          ... all the FM radio stations in the country, except for those playing NPR (National Public Radio--like an extremely watered-down BBC), are owned by a single company: ClearChannel.>

          ClearChannel [wikipedia.org] is the biggest player in the radio market, and now that there are no FCC impediments, they usually own multiple channels in a given market. They arguably wield monopoly power in some markets, but they don't e [techliberation.com]

    • Radios in general (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:30PM (#16237323)
      People think I'm a bit odd... I have a TON of gadgets, but still don't own an iPod or "popular" MP3 player. The reason: Nobody makes one with both an AM/FM tuner in it. So I still use my Panasonic CD player with MP3 capabilities... as it has an AM/FM tuner in it. I enjoy listening to live baseball (and occasionally other sports) games on AM radio, which is why it's of key importance to me. I realize radio is a secondary feature for a music player, but my stance is simple:

      If I'm paying several hundred dollars for a portable player, it should damn well have an FM *AND* AM tuner in it.

      Simple as that. Until then, the CD/MP3 player that cost me $50 3 years ago will do just fine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)
        You're really better off just getting whatever mp3 player/whatever you like and buying a separate am/fm tuner. Not only do you get the best of either world instead of some kind of stupid compromise between the both (power requirements for the tuner are actually significantly greater than the player for instance) but you get the possibility of recording the radio for later listening, a feature which I haven't seen on ANY mp3/minidisk/tape player/radios in quite some time.

        You can get quite small radio tuners
    • Re:FM... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mTor (18585) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:31PM (#16237335)
      Actually, the FM radio band is abslutely the worst choice for an emergency broadcast. The range of FM is short and the radio waves don't bounce off the ionosphere. If there's some kind of a catastrophic event, there's a very good chance that local FM transmitter will be affected by it as well. SW and AM are much better since their waves bounce off the ionosphere and are long range.

      Also, relying on Zune for emergency signal is silly (and I'm being nice) since it has a short battery life and no AM/SW bands. Also, what will you listen to after 5hrs have passed?!

      If you want an emergency radio, get one with three bands and get one that has a hand crank.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Paul Slocum (598127)
      I have an iRiver with FM, and I use it all the time. Often I'm listening to NPR in my car and have to run in somewhere, so I just turn on my iRiver and put on my headphones and continue listening wherever I am. Or I turn it on and start it recording and listen to the rest of the program later (thanks to Rockbox [rockbox.org])
    • Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver

      Might I suggest a hand crank radio would be more useful for emergency purposes?

      Something like this [amazon.com] perhaps?

      Additional features over a Zune:
      * Hand crank can be used to recharge the built-in battery
      * Tunes AM/FM, seven NOAA weather alert channels, and TV channels 2-13
      * Features emergency lights, plus a flashing beacon mode; cell phone charger

    • by soft_guy (534437)
      Everyone should have a battery powered radio receiver. Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Flooding, Volcanos (like Mt. St. Helens) happen,

      When your battery powered unit quits working because your batteries have gone dead, I'll be nice and let you listen to my hand cranked radio.
  • Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RetlawST (997563) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:05PM (#16236897)
    As an Apple user, I'm all for this. A REAL competitor in the mp3 player market means that Apple has to "innovate" something cooler in order to stay on the top. I'd like to see a wide-screen iPod by the end of the year. :D
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:14PM (#16237055) Homepage Journal

      As an Apple user, I'm all for this. A REAL competitor in the mp3 player market means that Apple has to "innovate" something cooler in order to stay on the top. I'd like to see a wide-screen iPod by the end of the year. :D

      Yeah, that's what we'll likely see, pointless innovation for the sake of innovation, the next gen will probably have

      • a color LED projector so we can watch videos on a sheet of paper, wall, etc.
      • a Swiss Army knife built in
      • a turnip twaddler built in
      • a keyboard
      • automated blood sugar/caffeine/cholesterol/heart-rate monitor
      • a weight of 2 lbs, including (non-exploding) battery
      • a wasabi dispenser

      Actaully... naw... well, maybe...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lubricated (49106)
        >> Yeah, that's what we'll likely see, pointless innovation for the sake of innovation, the next gen will probably ha

        all those features kick ass. I shouldn't have bought my ipod yet. Nothing like an easy to use turnip twaddler made by apple.
    • by Foofoobar (318279)
      Better yet, I want the iPaper... en e-ink device designed by apple that can display videos, view books and newspapers on and with a collapsible screen that is larger than the device itself. It's about time that e-ink displays be adopted by mainstream.
      • by amabbi (570009)
        en e-ink device designed by apple that can display videos, view books and newspapers on and with a collapsible screen that is larger than the device itself.

        Video on e-paper? You do realize that the refresh rate on those things are at best on the order of hundreds of milliseconds...

    • by Cylix (55374)
      Or at least drop prices :)
      • by lostboy2 (194153)
        No kidding. The University of Washington bookstore [washington.edu] is holding a clearance sale on iPods, in fact. Current prices:
        • 1GB iPod nano = $79
        • 2GB iPod nano = $99
        • 4GB iPod nano = $149
        • 30GB iPod = $199
        • 60GB iPod = $249
        And that's down from their clearance prices listed 2 weeks ago.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mythz (857024)
      What REAL competitor? it is a rebadged gigabeat. The difference is that M$ can afford to lose money and spend millions on advertising.
  • Zune vs Wii (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:06PM (#16236909)
    So at around the same time for $250 you can either get an also-ran music player or a brand-new game console. Zounds to me like they are going to lose a lot of tech geek sales.
    • Hmmmm....can't recall the last time I was deciding between an MP3 player and a game console. Not the same market, really. Why not extend the logic to anything else that has transistors and costs $250? I do agree, though, that MS's crippled wireless capability won't be much of a selling point, at which point you're buying an iPod. Unless you've been waiting the last 5 years to have a player with an FM tuner so you can listen to Clearchannel.
    • by rilister (316428)
      Not just that, but to say their competitor is iPod is a bit of an assumption. I'd say the market breaks out into Joe Public, who'll buy what he's heard of (iPod) and techies who buy on features, size, battery life, etc, etc. (This is Slashdot - you fall into the latter category).

      Geeks are (I reckon) more likely to buy outside iPod - witness the amount of Slashposts about Nomads, Zen, etc, etc.
      So at that point the fact that Zune is the same price as an iPod is pretty irrelevant. Now the Zune looks like the e
  • If I was MS I would drop the price of this thing to $199. I mean, this thing is gonna bomb anyway, minus well lower the price and hope to make more money on the music-selling end of things.
  • Next MP3... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) *

    Next MP3 player won't be one of these, I'll get something cheep, like that little jobby that works with a USB drive, which i can then plug into the new generation of car stereos with USB. Hoo Hah!

    • Next MP3 player won't be one of these, I'll get something cheep, like that little jobby that works with a USB drive, which i can then plug into the new generation of car stereos with USB. Hoo Hah!


      You can mount an iRiver, an iPod, (and I gotta believe a Zune) as a UMS device, working just fine on the "next generation of car stereos with USB."
      • MTP vs UMS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:28PM (#16237281)
        > You can mount an iRiver, an iPod, (and I gotta believe a Zune) as a UMS device, working just fine on the "next generation of car stereos with USB."

        Read between the lines of this MS developer's [anythingbutipod.com] post, in which he says "PlaysForSure does not require devices to support only MTP - UMS can be implemented too, but under certain conditions that prevent newbies from transferring content via MTP, switching to UMS and then calling tech support because they can't find/play their content"...

        Now re-read that sentence while pondering the notion that Zune will not support PlaysForSure.

        This is a Microsoft product. More so than Apple products, less so than Sony products, it's still all about vendor lock-in.

        I speculate that Zune will be an MTP (Media Transfer Protocol [wikipedia.org])-only device. UMS (USB Mass Storage [wikipedia.org]) cannot be supported, because only by eliminating UMS can Microsoft mandate the use of WMP10/11 and the accompanying XP/Vista DRM platform.

      • Unfortunately, some of the newer iRivers don't work as USB devices anymore, requiring you to transfer files to them via Windows Media Player. There's a firmware hack floating around the tubenet to fix that problem, but I'm pretty sure it voids your warranty.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:08PM (#16236929)
    Song downloads just under 99 cents? Would that make them 98 cents?

    I predict a flood of switchers.
    • Walmart.com already offers its songs for 88 cents (the songs play on PlayForSure devices), so someone is already undercutting iTMS's prices, but it hasn't made any difference.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doctor Memory (6336)
        the songs play on PlayForSure devices
        Too bad the Zune isn't a PlaysForSure device [eff.org]...
        • by fermion (181285) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @08:27PM (#16239487) Homepage Journal
          Which is exactly why MS is screwing all of it's business partners by abandoning play for sure. If Zune worked with play for sure, there would be no reason for an MS music store, and without an MS music store, the whole MS portal strategy is doomed to failure.

          Look at it this way. Even though MS controls the desktop, controls IE, and forces everyone to MSN, MSN is still not a real player in any market. They cannot win the the market on quality, or even controlling the software. So the hope is to take another page out of the Apple book and try make inroads into the music business by controlling the software and hardware, and locking consumers into the format.

          I have a feeling that the lack of play for sure support is going to be a detriment, as those same people that buy the player form wal mart are going to want to download songs from wal mart, or whoever. Also, at some point MS is going to want to raise the subscription fee, and at that point owning a Zune will be more expensive than owning another device. Recall that one thing that makes a non-iPod device desirable is the play for sure market is somewhat completive, while the iTunes and alleged MS Music market is not.

          As always MS makes the entire thing way too complex, and so will only appeal to those that want the MS name. Otherwise a Zen will be a better choice, unless MS is going to start giving music away, say a free three month subscription with purchase.

    • by fireduck (197000)
      From the second article [arstechnica.com]:

      Microsoft's Zune Marketplace will sell individual songs for 79 points, which translates to 99 (98.75) cents.


      98 and three-quarters of a cent. You buy four songs from Zune and you've saved a whole penny!
  • by javaDragon (187973) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:11PM (#16236997) Homepage
    Most people are not "artist" enough to appreciate that "innovative" brown...
  • Fuzzy Math? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:11PM (#16236999) Homepage Journal
    Since when does "just under" mean "equals"?

    The Zune's companion music download service will charge users 99 cents per song, the same as Apple's iTunes Store pricing model.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DoctorSVD (884269)
      That has always been the case. It's a property of real numbers:

      0.9999999... (infinite number of 9's) = 1

      > Since when does "just under" mean "equals"?
    • Actually, they're selling them for 98.75 cents [arstechnica.com] through the Zune Marketplace. 98.75 is technically lower than 99.
    • Re:Fuzzy Math? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ctr2sprt (574731) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:36PM (#16237427)

      Because songs aren't bought using money. You use money to buy Microsoft Points, or something with a similarly retarded name, and then use those points to buy songs. The current price is a buck for 80 points, and songs cost 79 points. So each point costs 1.25 cents, and 79 points works out to 98.75 cents. Due to rounding, if you buy 1 or 2 songs you pay the same as in ITMS, and past that you pay a very small amount less (if you buy 100 songs you save a whole quarter).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cuantar (897695)
        Because of this, Zune songs will actually be *more expensive* than songs from iTMS, because in order to buy just one, someone has to spend a full dollar. One of those points will go unused, sure, but what can you do with one point? Until you spend $79, you won't ever have actually paid $0.9875 for anything. With Apple, at least when you buy a song they only charge you for the price of the song.

        Very sneaky of them.
  • the microsoft way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:12PM (#16237035) Homepage Journal
    songs from the Zune Marketplace will cost just under $0.99.

    At first...
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:13PM (#16237047) Homepage
    When people are asked what they want, they do not say an Mp3 player. They say, "I want an iPod." That alone puts the Zune at a large disadvantage, not to mention all the other things. iPods are trendy, well-known, and easy to see(Look at me!) - so until people start looking at what kind of Mp3 player to buy instead of what version of iPod to buy, the Zune will struggle to find its place in the market, just like everyone else.
    • The iPod is bringing too many people into the Apple store. Microsoft smells blood.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the Zune or music credit got bundled with legit copies of Vista... which through the magic of DRM won't be downloadable to an iPod.

      ...or something sickening like that.

  • by chefmattrock (996275) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:15PM (#16237073)
    How about one of the manufacturers come out with a user replacable battery. This was a major complaint for the first Ipods, and hasn't been fixed yet. A bigger screen means shorter playtime between charges. That's one feature that would make me choose one over the other. Besides that, they're all comparable.
    • by fodder69 (701416) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:25PM (#16238087)
      While that may appeal to you, a lot of other people appreciate the quality "feel" of an ipod, part of which is no seams or panels. The first time you hold an ipod, it just feels like a quality piece of hardware and that impression is part of what has made it a success. There is no big label on the back that peels off, no panels that get worn out and loose, and it just flat out screams quality. Us tech geeks talk about various features we want and how itunes kinda sucks, but most people couldn't care less.
  • DOA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:18PM (#16237113)
    This isn't a day late and a dollar short, it's at least three years too late and $100 short.

    "Hey, let's offer a player two months from now at the same price as Apple is already selling the iPod at today. Also, let's make sure that our new, unproven propriatary music DRM is completely incompatible with our previous propritary music DRM! That way we get to drive away consumers fearful of unknown technology and piss off our existing music partners to boot!"

    Dead on Arrival.

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • ho hum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spirit_fingers (777604) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:21PM (#16237155)
    I can't believe what a turkey the Zune is. Here are 2 reasons right off the bat:

    - It only lets you share one song at a time via wi-fi and then only with another Zune player. What's more, even if the song is not DRM'd, it infects that song with DRM so that the recipient can only play the song a maximum of 3 times or for a maximum of 3 days, whichever comes first. So much for Microsoft's wonderful social networking scheme.

    - It can't play songs you've already downloaded encoded with Microsoft's own Play For Sure DRM. Dumb. Just plain dumb.

    And if including an FM tuner didn't get people to flock to Creative's Zen video pod, why should it be such a hot feature in the Zune? And who the frack thought brown was cool?
  • Zune is like... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moracity (925736)
    the fake Air Jordans from K-Mart back in the day. And when Air Jordans were out of style, K-Mart kept on trying to sell them. You can probably still buy them.

    iPod haters were already saying that the market was saturated with iPods and Apple's time was over...so how is Zune going to fare any better? You can't have it both ways. Zune is simply not a compelling product...especially when the iPod is still "hip".

    Whether intentional or not, I think it was BRILLIANT that Apple did not release the true video iPod a
  • Hang on,

    the Zune is $249.99. The iPod is $249.00, with $0.99 left over to buy a song with.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:24PM (#16237213)
    but in the US a point is currently 1.25 cents

    Um, yeah. I'm not buying into some funky dirka-dirka currency that can fluctuate at the company's sheer will.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jesterboy (106813)
      This is something that worries me significantly about "point based" systems; it's like they're trying to create their own currency, which they could theoretically fluctuate as they want. Except that, unlike currency, you can't convert it back to the currency you transferred it from.

      Not that I'm wearing a tinfoil hat or anything, but this sounds like the precursor to Microsoft Dollars, or Wal-Mart Bucks and that really scares me.
  • Article is wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@gmai l . c om> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:26PM (#16237227) Journal
    From TFA (playmag.com):
    But there are a few key differences [from the iPod]: Microsoft plans to use the same transaction system as Xbox Live, its video game console's online service, which will allow consumers to pay for music using prepaid cards they can buy in retail stores -- saving some the hassle of needing to use a credit card.

    I can walk into Walmart and buy a prepaid iTunes card with cash. The only I ever "bought" from iTunes was with a code from Pepsi. So please playmag.com, tell me how iTunes requires a credit card again? iTunes already has an allowance system too.

  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:26PM (#16237233)
    Just wait until some hapless teenager shares a song with his friend only to find out a couple days later he can't move it off his player. "Dude, I just got Zuned!"
  • Confused (Score:2, Funny)

    by catdevnull (531283)
    I'm very confused about the choice of brown for a color. Does the shiney brown mean that Microsoft has pioneered a break-through for turd polish?
  • by OverDrive33 (468610) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @05:53PM (#16237681) Homepage Journal
    ... remove the DRM. That's it. I'd buy one in an instant.
    I like the Zune, from what I've read and the pictures I've seen it seems pretty cool! Especially the wireless sharing of files - that's really cool. However, the DRM that the wireless transfers forces on your media is unacceptable.
    Any takers on how long it will take to crack the DRM?
    Or
    Any takers on how long it will take to get Linux running - doing the same things - minus the DRM?
  • by MBraynard (653724) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:00PM (#16237757) Journal
    I have a Sandisk player with Yahoo Unlimited and an FM transmitter. Totally content to have everything and owe nothing for $10 a month.

    This is worse because if I actually wanted to BUY a song (own forever, burn to CD, etc.) then it only costs $0.79.

  • by grouchomarxist (127479) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:04PM (#16237821)
    Ticket booth woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
    Homer: What's that?
    Woman: Well it's money that's made just for the park. It works just like regular money, but it's, er ... 'fun.'
    Bart: Do it, Dad.
    Homer: Well, OK, if it's fun...let's see, uh...I'll take $1,100 worth.
    Homer walks in to see signs advertising that Itchy & Scratchy money is non-negotiable at various booths (e.g., "No I&S money," "We don't take Itchy and Scratchy money," etc).
    Homer: "Aw!"
  • by PHanT0 (148738) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @06:11PM (#16237917)
    I won't pay 99 for a DRM-riddled piece of music... I will pay a full dollar for a DRM-free piece of music though.

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