Retailers Drop Price of Microsoft's Zune, New Device to Come?

Dennis Faas's picture

Before being given its current title, "Zune", Microsoft's digital audio player was largely rumored to be the company's first foray into the portable gaming market.

With many console fanboys hoping the project would indeed end in an "Xboy", it instead led to a 30GB MP3 competitor for Apple's iPod. Although it seems Microsoft still plans on making the device somewhat game-functional, the company may have lost its chance with gamers. The window of opportunity may be quickly closing on the Zune's music appeal, too, with many retailers now discounting its price tag.

First to massively reduce the Zune's cost to consumers was Staples, which knocked a reported $50 off the player this past week (from $249.99 to $199.99). Circuit City followed suit in some of its stores, dropping the price a less impressive (but still substantial) $30, to $219.99. (Source:

Insiders remain skeptical that the Zune is going to appear in the bargain bins, just yet. Why? Well, unlike many devices that have failed miserably and wound up in flea markets and garage sales, the Zune is still well-supported by Microsoft. Although owners might argue this to some degree, the company has set a lofty goal of 1 million Zunes sold by June. That wouldn't be possible if Microsoft didn't have some sort of marketing ploy up its sleeve.

Although that goal appears fairly ridiculous considering the fire sale of a few retailers, that rabbit in the hat may just be an announcement regarding gaming functionality. With cell phones being as appealing for games and ringtone features as much as their telecommunications abilities, if MS is to promise even the most basic form of handheld "Halo", it could again arouse interest in the forgotten Zune.

That could come as early as this week, with some sources reporting Microsoft is readying the announcement of a new Zune. (Source:

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