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July 17, 2006

More Zune details

Posted by David Hunter at 4:12 PM ET.

Engadget points to Digital Music News who has more details on Microsoft’s rumored portable media player, the Zune, from “presentation materials given to various partners and top-level executives.” Some of the choicer bits:

According to the sources, the device will offer 30GB of storage, though it will deliver the “same pricing, look and feel as the 60GB iPod”. That would suggest a retail price of $399, the price point for the high-end iPod. Immediately, the sticker is likely to draw comparisons to the comparable 30GB iPod, which is available for $299.

Wireless synchronization with the PC will not be available in the upcoming launch, scheduled for November in the United States. A global launch will begin next year, starting with Great Britain and Canada, according to the sources and materials.

Guiding the approach is a “closed ecosystem paired with a branded device,” which essentially describes iPod+iTunes. But that approach is fairly inconsistent with the PlaysForSure architecture, which attempts to offer flexibility between a wide range of WMA-compatible MP3 players and digital download stores.

According to the latest information and sources to Digital Music News, the newer ecosystem will be “incompatible with other Windows Media services,” placing the focus squarely on one device, and one jukebox and store.

The music store itself also offers several eye-openers. In the marketing materials, Microsoft mentions that it will deliver “bundling, variable pricing, and subscription” upon launch. The variable pricing aspect is a major win for major labels, especially following an unsuccessful bid to alter the uniform, 99-cent pricing approach found on the iTunes Music Store. Forced bundling is also decidedly non-iTunes, and will be used by labels to counter a cherry-picking revolution among digital consumers.

In terms of size, the marketing campaign will be “equivalent to the launch of the Xbox,” beginning with a fall splash.

More good buzz bait by following the link.

All of it is speculative, of course, but caving in to the record labels, stiffing one’s partners, and pricing high is sure to bring the knives out.

Filed under Apple, Argo, Coopetition, Microsoft, PlaysForSure, Technologies, Zune

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5 Responses to “More Zune details”

  1. Zune to be launched in October? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Finally, “Alexandria” is believed to be the service that would accompany these devices, much like the synchronous relationship between the iPod and iTunes. While some believed Microsoft and MTV’s URGE service would fill this role, that is not the case. More by following the link and some prior buzz here. Filed under Coopetition, Apple, MTV, Microsoft, Argo, Zune   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft admits to Zune -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] It wasn’t an announcement. It wasn’t a demo. It wasn’t even a preview. But via an interview in Billboard magazine and a plethora of press statements, Microsoft confirmed the gist of the rumors and ‘fessed up to be working on a family of personal media players and an associated online media purchasing service under the brand name Zune. The best roundup of all of the press sources (official and unofficial) I have seen is from Ryan Block at Engadget. The net: Zune is coming this year and not only targeting Apple’s iPod and iTunes, but also emulating Apple’s business plan: -The Zune brand is intended to be an entirely vertically integrated end-to-end solution, not unlike the iPod / iTunes / iTunes Music Store triumvirate. [...]

  3. Media UnCut Says:

    Microsoft Zune – The iPod Killer?

    Well the rumors that Micorsoft wants to make an iPod kilkler are true. On Saturday they confirmed that they were making a family of devices code named “Zune”, and the software that will power them.

  4. Zune only $299? -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] There’s more in the article, but of all of this mostly confirms what had been previously rumored (e.g. here) except for the price tag which is $100 less than prior rumors and in line with iPod pricing. Filed under Microsoft, Argo, Zune   [Permalink] [...]

  5. Other Zune shoe drops, pricing and availability announced -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] • Users can purchase songs individually using Microsoft® Points for 79 points per track. Similar to a pre-paid phone card, Microsoft Points is a stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live® Marketplace. According to the latest exchange rates, 1 Microsoft point = US$0.0125, so 79 points is US$0.9875 which is very slightly less than iTunes’ 99 cents a track. I think the good news here is that contrary to earlier rumors, Microsoft is offering a fixed price per track purchase plan instead of variable pricing, bundling, or a mandatory subscription. [...]

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