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Wal-Mart Leaks Zune Price

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the making-microsoft-scramble dept.

313

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?"

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313 comments

Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (-1, Redundant)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152801)

Old news, arstechnica, 3 days ago

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (2, Funny)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152805)

Didn't you get the memo on the new tagline for Slashdot, "old news for nerds, stuff that only mattered 3 days ago (unless it's about the Wii)"?

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (0, Offtopic)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152895)

How the hell did this get modded 'redundant'?

Anyway, go here. [arstechnica.com]

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (0, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152960)

Because the criticism occurs in the comments of every slashdot story.

And because clearly this is not the type of news that matters if it is a few days old?

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (0, Offtopic)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153058)

So, the next time there is a BSOD criticsm of Microsoft, or a 'Diebold needs to be open source', or 'Bush is a moron', it will get modded redundant?

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (2, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153168)

We can only hope. They often just get modded "Troll", though. Really the whole problem with the moderation system is that the mods don't use it to moderate the discussion, they use it as a voting system. It's really just digg with another mechanism. Slashdot's mod system is really just a fancy thumbs-up/thumbs-down. The main advantage is that I can go into the prefs and change how each item affects the score. In your case, I recommend changing the "redundant" setting :) I tend to give each "positive" score double the weight of a negative score. This still filters out the true trolls without totally squashing unpopular viewpoints (such as Windows doesn't really crash much, or Bush actually has a point).

Re:Slashdot.....news for people living 72hrs ago (2, Insightful)

Antifuse (651387) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153141)

Yes, and every Slashdot reader also reads arstechnica. Oh, wait, no they don't.

Will MS respond? Yes. (5, Informative)

RootWind (993172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152803)

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (5, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152824)

That would be great, but I wouldn't trust a sentence starting with "One of our moles on the inside told us...".

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152928)

Hey, if anybody's gonna have some good insight into the underworld, it'd be a mole...

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16153294)

You do realise that's precisely why they are called moles, doncha? Course ya do. Yer smurt!

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (5, Interesting)

neoform (551705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152950)

So, the question is, will MS do with zune as they did with the xbox and sell it at a loss just so they can overtake apple.. ?

also, why is a zune price leak in the apple section?

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (4, Interesting)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153063)

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?

Re:Will MS respond? Yes. (5, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153076)

Are freeware writers also dumpers? Do they start being dumpers if they later start charging for their software? Mmmmm...

Not true (4, Informative)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152806)

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 ;)

OMFG I CAME IN UR EYE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152874)

Hawt.

Re:Not true (5, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153035)

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.

Re:Not true (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153096)

They don't have a profitable music service

Why do you assume they won't have it when the Zune comes out?

Re:Not true (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153144)

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:Not true (2, Insightful)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153176)

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 (4, Insightful)

tb3 (313150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153262)

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:Not true (2, Interesting)

Ooble (917932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153177)

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.

Re:Not true (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153211)

the iTunes Store doesn't really make much profit

Sorry, who was talking about making much profit except for you?

Re:Not true (3, Interesting)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not true (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153206)

He also said "don't believe everything you read"... that may apply to what he himself has written :-)

Who pays standard retail prices for electronics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152809)

With sites like Amazon.com [amazon.com] with its third-party sellers, and similar bargain sites, who cares what the standard retail price of an item is if you'll really be able to get it for tens of dollars less? It's been a long time since I paid retail price for books, CDs, or electronics.

Re:Who pays standard retail prices for electronics (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152999)

I agree, wait a few months and Zunes will be on Overstock.com in the "iPod Killer" category :)

Free as in IE (-1, Troll)

Zarf (5735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152816)

Microsoft will start giving them away... bundled with a new computer.

A good use for the Zune (5, Interesting)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:A good use for the Zune (2, Interesting)

kaleco (801384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153014)

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.

Re:A good use for the Zune (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153131)

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.

Yes, but my point is... (3, Interesting)

kaleco (801384) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:A good use for the Zune (3, Insightful)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153145)

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...

Re:A good use for the Zune (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153197)

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.

Apple and the EU (1)

kaleco (801384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153293)

Yes, quite so, but it seems like the EU is currently turning up the heat on Apple too over its DRM.

Re:A good use for the Zune (4, Insightful)

eclectic4 (665330) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Hey!! That's not fair! (-1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152820)

It's totally unfair that some corporation can cut its prices just to make someone else's product look bad! Apple is DELIBERATELY trying to compete with another product. We need a law that says "No competing product my be cut in price within one month of the launch of a competing product." That will make the market fair.

Re:Hey!! That's not fair! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152906)

Then Apple will just launch the jPod. All the features and looks exactly like the iPod, but cheaper than the Zune. They save on cost by not drawing the tail on the j, so it looks a lot like an i.

Zune? WTF?!? (3, Funny)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152821)

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]

Re:Zune? WTF?!? (4, Funny)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152876)

The thing is called "Zune". What does that mean to anybody?

Its something to listen to while drinking a Zima? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Zune? WTF?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152905)

Yes, because Ipod was far more intelligent. Here was the meeting:

Marketing droid 1: "shit, everything we make right now is called i - something, what are we going to call it?"

Marketing droid 2: "Ipod"

Marketing droid 1: "That's fucking stupid"

PHB: "I like it!"

and another stupidly named product was born...

Re:Zune? WTF?!? (4, Funny)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153019)

Because "iPod" is a perfectly intuitive brandname? Even 'walkman' doesn't make much sense, although I guess you can walk and you are a membmer of mankind when listening to music.

Re:Zune? WTF?!? (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153026)

The thing is called "Zune". What does that mean to anybody?

About as much as "iPod" or "Walkman" did before they became the de facto portable audio devices of their day.

Re:Zune? WTF?!? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153028)

What no one has leaked yet is where "Zune" really (secret here) came from!

Zune = Zebra (as in a horse designed by a committee) & a Tune (as in "Microsoft will own everying.")

Apple story not Mircosoft? (2, Interesting)

el_womble (779715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152823)

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?

Re:Apple story not Mircosoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16153222)

Youve just listed three successful business models invented by Microsoft. They may have an inferior product, but I wouldnt worry about their business model.

And besides the answer is obvious: contracts with media companies and DRM.

Zune is a loss leader (4, Insightful)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

My predictions were right,,, (1, Insightful)

corroncho (1003609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152832)

I mentioned this on the last post about the Zune. The only way MS can gain marketshare is to come in well below the iPod price. If it is a better product, all the specs will just fly over the heads of most consumers. iPod is "the" MP3 player to the masses and the only thing that will convince them otherwise is price.
___________________________
Free iPods? Its legit [wired.com] . 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! [freepay.com]

Re:My predictions were right,,, (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152984)

iPod is "the" MP3 player to the masses and the only thing that will convince them otherwise is price.
Yeah, because that really makes the Keds Title Bout(tm) sneakers a household name and is a license to print money, while the Nike Air Jordan(tm) line languishes in obscurity and financial ruin.

Re:My predictions were right,,, (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153086)

They have to be careful. If it is cheaper than the iPod, that could add to it's image of being a knockoff. It's like wine. People look at all of the bottles on the shelf and don't have any idea what the difference is, but their pretty sure that the $40 bottle is better than the $6 bottle, even though that isn't really true at all. Put yourself at best buy. The 30GB iPod (which you've heard of and seen before) is $249 and this Zune thing is $229. You quickly scan the specs, see that they are about the same, and figure that this Zune thing must just be a cheap knockoff. On the other hand, if it were $259, you might ask a salesperson what the difference is.

All of this is moot anyway - they went after the wrong market, IMO. The most popular iPod is the tiny little Nano. Unless they were trying to create a niche product, I'm not sure why they didn't go after the biggest market.

Who runs MS, anyway? Who thought it was a great idea to compete with their licensees? And then against Apple's iPod, where all others have failed? If I was a shareholder I'd be furious. If I were a licensee I'd be furious. If iPod sales ever go flat (don't they have to at some point?), Apple might get a nice reception to an offer to license FairPlay now... a real "plays for sure".

It's doomed (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:It's doomed (2, Insightful)

condensate (739026) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152961)

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.

Re:It's doomed (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152993)

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.

Re:It's doomed (1)

Snap E Tom (128447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153029)

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 (4, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153111)

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.

Re:It's doomed (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153244)

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.

Ease of use vs price? (2, Interesting)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152847)

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?

Re:Ease of use vs price? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152929)

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:Ease of use vs price? (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152937)

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:Ease of use vs price? (2, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152966)

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$.

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153203)

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.

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152949)

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.

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1, Informative)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152991)

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.

Oh get off the grass. Almost every player EXCEPT the iPod uses the infinitely simpler method of drag & drop from the filesystem to put files onto it. No screwing around with a proprietary piece of software with all its quirks, just drag the mp3 from the filesystem, onto the device. Simple. It works without needing extra software installed whether you're on Linux, Windows, even another Mac. It doesn't GET any simpler than that, and that's what we already have for the majority of non-iPod players.

Apple may have claim to an easier UI in some parts of Mac OS X, but the iTunes to iPod interface is NOT one of them

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153173)

Exactly how is opening up a file manager and dragging files from one window to another easier than simply dropping your iPod into it's dock and having it sync the files automatically?

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

rebeka thomas (673264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153226)

Exactly how is opening up a file manager and dragging files from one window to another easier than simply dropping your iPod into it's dock and having it sync the files automatically?

Flexibility. Not everyone wants to work like that, and if you did, the drag & drop method from the filesystem works there. Simply write a script to sync your music collection on the computer to the media player.

It could be written in less time than it takes to download iTunes, use less memory, run quicker, and again run on any system without being forced to use only those which Apple finds worthy of assaulting with iTunes.

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153273)

Simply write a script to sync your music collection on the computer to the media player.

WTF?
How is your normal consumer going to do that?

Re:Ease of use vs price? (2, Insightful)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153212)

I really fail to understand why someone would think I'd prefer to manage a few thousand files myself, manually, than let a piece of software do it for me (and do it well, as iTunes does).

I'll be the first to say that not every interface is intuitive to everyone, but could you clarify what part of "connect iPod, iTunes syncs files" is difficult?

Re:Ease of use vs price? (2, Insightful)

nocaster (784709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153306)

Oh get off the grass. Almost every player EXCEPT the iPod uses the infinitely simpler method of drag & drop from the filesystem to put files onto it. No screwing around with a proprietary piece of software with all its quirks, just drag the mp3 from the filesystem, onto the device. Simple. It works without needing extra software installed whether you're on Linux, Windows, even another Mac. It doesn't GET any simpler than that, and that's what we already have for the majority of non-iPod players.

Just try to tell my wife that dragging an mp3 from the filesystem onto the device is easier than plugging in an iPod and letting iTunes automatically sync it.

Re:Ease of use vs price? (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153282)

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 product: well engineered, good looking, with just enough functionality to satisfy the needs of many people while still being fairly simple to use.

Sexy sells (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152875)

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.

Re:Sexy sells (1)

lazarusdishwasher (968525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153027)

If Ballmer had jailhouse rock on his zune would that mean the commercial will feature ballmer dancing with a wooden chair rather then throwing it?

Re:Sexy sells (2, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153300)

You know, it's perfectly OK for you to be attracted to dancing men--we are open minded and tolerant here. But, for God's sake, have some taste!

Or is it? (0, Troll)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152891)

Maybe emploees of walmart just want to get cheaper iPods/Zunes for themselves and did that on purpose? :-D

$15 isn't much of an undercutting strategy (1)

ShinyBrowncoat (692095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152934)

BetaNews states that 'undercutting the iPod is a major goal of Microsoft's upcoming effort.' Will Microsoft respond to Apple with another price drop?"
Yes, I imagine they will SHOCK the world with a $234 price tag...

Big dif (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16152970)

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.

Can you say Monopoly? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152978)

Microsoft have no concept of competative pricing. Their only pricing policy is to milk the market for all it's worth.

cnet, the reg, inquirer, had this story yesterday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16152994)

cnet, the reg, inquirer, all had this story yesterday - picking up the scraps ?

ObBallmer (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153001)

Undercutting the iPod is a major goal of Microsoft's upcoming effort, say these sources.

"Dumping, dumping, dumping!!!"

$20-30 Cheaper (1)

searchreplace (755366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153020)

$20-30 Cheaper didn't help Creative/MPIO/iRiver so how will it help Microsoft?

Only $20-30 more for the real iPod. That won't slow down Apple.

Would be good for consumers if they react (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153053)

Not that anyone wants a Zume, but it would sure be nice to get an iPod more cheaply!

Brown is for me! (0, Redundant)

aronschatz (570456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153190)

I don't know about you guys, but I'll be getting a crappy color Zune for sure! I think the money is in my back pocket somewhere...

Eventually, Microsoft will have make a profit (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153266)

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 why MS "won" that browser battle (though the war isn't won yet).

It will be interesting to see how long Microsoft can continue to shift money from their dominant OS and Office products to money losers without creating an investor revolt.

Lock-In (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153283)

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.

Lowest price - might be the winner (2, Insightful)

Damek (515688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16153298)

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.
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