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Microsoft Considering Subsidizing Zune Sales

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the nothing-else-has-worked-why-not dept.

Microsoft 141

grouchomarxist writes "Microsoft is considering selling the Zune subsidized like a cellphone, according to an excerpt on MarketWatch from a PC World magazine interview with Microsoft's Zune marketing director, Jason Reindorp. According to the article: 'The spokesman said that Microsoft first considered the cellphone-like distribution plan after seeing interest in its Zune Pass subscription service, which offers monthly paid access to songs on the Zune Marketplace, a competitor to Apple's iTunes store. Though he declined to say how many subscribers currently use Zune Pass, the spokesman said subscriptions rose 65% during January.'"

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141 comments

So... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18638963)

"the spokesman said subscriptions rose 65% during January."

So... that's 165 people?

Re:So... (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#18639119)

Even if it is 165,000 people it's not that big of a deal. Apple is selling millions of ipods.

The fact is the subscription music plan just sucks. It's like paying for radio. XM and sirus have a good idea, but very few people are willing to shell out money for music that stops playing when they stop paying.

It is a nice market, and always will be.

The best part of itunes is that it has more than just songs. I don't own an ipod. I just don't like any of the models and I am not impressed with any other music player either. But I still shop at iTunes. I grab the Battlestar galactica or Hero's episodes I missed and forgot to tivo.

I then unplug my monitor's dvi connector, and plug in my tv's dvi cable.

Even the simple 640x480 resolution they sell looks good on a 23" HDTV. not spectacular but better than the regular tv reception I get.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

encoderer (1060616) | about 7 years ago | (#18639681)

1. Music subscription services are pretty popular. Perhaps you don't like it, but I've turned many people on to it and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from friends and family. You're not paying for music thats stops playing when you stop paying. You're paying to listen to HUGE, GIGANTIC libraries of ANY SONG YOU WANT, whenever you want, wherever you want.

Your comment like saying "Nobody would PAY for Cable Television. It makes no sense. Few people are willing to shell out money for television that stops playing when they stop paying"

2. Your comment about iTMS having TV & movies is funny. Are you actually suggesting that a subscription model wouldn't work well for TV shows? I mean, what makes you think that MSFT couldn't offer TV as part of their subscription price in the future? When iTMS launched they didn't have TV in the beginning, either. You do realize that people have been buying into the subscription-model for TV for, oh, 30 years now?

3. I love my iPod and I love iTMS. But as soon as I realized that I couldn't burn my TV purchases and that there was no "PlayFair" for video DRM I refused to give them another cent. Their video DRM is hideous and unacceptable. Imagine if FairPlay refused to let you burn them to CD. Well, THATS the kind of service you're paying for. $2 for 22 minutes of video that is crippled beyond all usefulness.

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 7 years ago | (#18640599)

You're paying to listen to HUGE, GIGANTIC libraries of ANY SONG YOU WANT, whenever you want, wherever you want.
Agreed. And one of the biggest mistakes is that it hasn't been marketed that way.

Subscription services are trying to compete with stores. Stores basically say, "Come here and buy your favorite music." That's great. I want to buy my favorite music. But how do I know if I like a song?

So how do you sell a subscription service? To me, the answer is the second part of the name: Service

Suppose I pay $15 per month to have access to any songs I want. But what songs do I want? I'm not going to go through a catalog of 2 or 3 million songs and figure out what's good and what sucks! I have better things to do with my day! And I already own my favorite songs on CD, so I'm certainly not going to rent them again. So what do I get from the subscription model? Absolutely nothing. I still have to do all the work.

So make it a real service. Do some research. Use other people's research. Come up with genre playlists and let people subscribe to them. Find worthwhile podcasts and hire/pay people to make them daily/weekly and let people subscribe to them. Promote hot DJs at hot clubs by letting them come up with weekly playlists and let people subscribe to them. Build playlists from Billboard, Radio & Records, etc. and let people subscribe to them. And, of course, let "regular people" build lists of music and let people subscribe to them. Heck, build playlists based upon my ripped CDs and let me subscribe to them.

Then let me build my own playlists of music and playlists. I might want to build a playlist of Billboard's Top 40 along with this song from your collection, this song from my CD, and Club DJ Wugmeister's mix. I might build another playlist of Radio & Record's Adult Contemporary listings, along with my Barry Manilow collection (from CD), the latest ABC News podcast, and WJAZ's Smooth Jazz playlist.

The "Here's our whole catalog--you figure it out" model isn't bringing them in droves because it's too much work. I'm not going to pay $15 per month for access to a mind-numbingly large collection of music. But I might pay that much if the subscription service actually provides a service where I automatically get new music that I might actually want to listen to!

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 7 years ago | (#18640785)

So make it a real service. Do some research. Use other people's research. Come up with genre playlists and let people subscribe to them. Find worthwhile podcasts and hire/pay people to make them daily/weekly and let people subscribe to them. Promote hot DJs at hot clubs by letting them come up with weekly playlists and let people subscribe to them. Build playlists from Billboard, Radio & Records, etc. and let people subscribe to them. And, of course, let "regular people" build lists of music and let people subscribe to them. Heck, build playlists based upon my ripped CDs and let me subscribe to them.

This is so right that I just want to scream at the morons in the music business for not getting a system like this set up. The really revolutionary part is that each user can manage sets of subscriptions on their own personal device and they are not limited by a fixed number of "channels" or any other holdovers from the radio days and since each user is paying the same subscriber fee there is more of an incentive to cater to all of the various niches out there since the real cost is in setting up and running the service, but once it is all set up and going there is almost no cost to add additional niche programs, eclectic playlists, and off-beat selections ala the Amazon.com com and Craigslist list based systems. The system would not even need to have only human DJs, it could use AI and have intelligent agent programs making playlists and selections based upon live user feedback, random, shuffle, etc...it is really wide open possibilities. The only explanation that I can think of is that the music execs are either too greedy, too stupid, or both to get this type of system up and running.

In the meantime you might want to check out Digitally Imported [www.di.fm] and A State of Trance w/Armin Van Buuren [www.di.fm]for some of the features that I have described above.

The "Here's our whole catalog--you figure it out" model isn't bringing them in droves because it's too much work. I'm not going to pay $15 per month for access to a mind-numbingly large collection of music. But I might pay that much if the subscription service actually provides a service where I automatically get new music that I might actually want to listen to!

Yes, Yes, Yes! If there are any music industry people reading this then PAY ATTENTION...THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. Sigh, they just don't get it.

Re:So... (1)

repvik (96666) | about 7 years ago | (#18640941)

A very good idea IMHO would be something like Pandora (http://pandora.com/), which classifies music using a wide range of parameters, and uses those to suggest other songs you might like. I've found hundreds of songs I would otherwise (likely) wouldn't have found at all.

Re:So... (1)

unPlugged-2.0 (947200) | about 7 years ago | (#18641233)

This really is one of the best ideas I have heard for subscription music in a really long time.

Actually it's one of the best ideas I have heard on slashdot in a while.

Somebody mod these two up and somebody in the music industry please listen.

Re:So... (1)

remmelt (837671) | about 7 years ago | (#18640989)

Good points. Still, you can tell me any kind of marketing speak, but it really does stop playing when you stop paying. You are aware of that, right? The comparison with TV is moot because I hardly ever rewatch anything on tv, but I do relisten most every CD I have.

Re:So... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 7 years ago | (#18641277)

Let's go through the numbers. For $15/mo, you can buy about 1 CD a month, and that's it. In 20 years, that collection would end up being 240 CDs by the end, but you started out with nothing. With a subscription service, continual access to hundreds of thousands of albums from the beginning, and have legitimate access to every album released the same month, without any risk. With the subscription service, there is little to no incremental cost to downloading another CD.

Re:So... (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | about 7 years ago | (#18641527)

BUT (to be the devils advocate)

if in 20 years you decide to stop buying CD's, you have 240 CD's.
if in 20 years you decide to stop subscribing to your service, you have nothing.

Re:So... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 7 years ago | (#18641495)

I agree that subscription is a good idea, but what evidence is there to show that it is popular? Anecdotes are interesting, but that really doesn't give me the big picture.

Re:So... (1)

eclectic4 (665330) | about 7 years ago | (#18642467)

This is all I know about subcription services, and it's all I need to know to never use one...

When you stop paying, the music goes bye bye. You never actually "own" the music. I'm sorry, but I want to buy that song and own it, to do whatever I wish to do with it for as long as I'm alive, and so do most people. When people buy something, we usually like something tangable that we can cuddle around. I can buy a song from iTMS and it's mine, for 99 cents, and I can do whatever I want with it. It just feels better than this overbearing sense of "I have to pay them or my music will stop!! ahhhh!!!". No thanks..

About the movies, why would you want to burn your TV purchases? Use your iPod to play them anywhere (you said you owned one, right?). The AV cable, sold by Apple BTW, will let you play all of your media on your TV (or anyone elses). Is it just a "because" thing then? I seriously don't get your grip there...

Re:So... (1)

eclectic4 (665330) | about 7 years ago | (#18642521)

"Your comment like saying "Nobody would PAY for Cable Television. It makes no sense. Few people are willing to shell out money for television that stops playing when they stop paying""

Bullshit. I can connect my antannea and get all the free TV the airwaves have to offer. It's worth the advertising revenue to do so. Cable is merely a paid upgrade, a luxury. The difference, is that there are millions of songs and millions of bands out there making music. How I get to choose which ones I listen to, out of all of them is worth 99 cents a song, that I now own. TV, you have a few shows, are extremely expensive to create (compared to music), and get paid by advertising during those shows.

Re:So... (1)

massysett (910130) | about 7 years ago | (#18639871)

The fact is the subscription music plan just sucks. It's like paying for radio. XM and sirus have a good idea, but very few people are willing to shell out money for music that stops playing when they stop paying.

I agree with you that people are not willing to pay, but what I am wondering is, why? "It's like paying for radio." Yeah, but it's also like paying for television. It comes for free over the airwaves. Millions pay for cable, even though when you stop paying, the cable stops working. You pay $100 a month for cable, and you own nothing when it's all said and done. You could have taken that $100 a month and bought DVDs (and nowadays much stuff on TV is now available on DVD) but instead people are RENTING TV. Why?

Maybe people are less willing to rent music because music is so cheap. Also, cable television has been around for decades--long enough for people to get used to the idea of paying for television. The idea of renting music or paying for radio is still a very new idea, and it could take awhile to catch on. With music being as cheap as it is nowadays, and with more and more people producing music and distributing it over the Net for free, I think renting music will NEVER catch on. Maybe satellite radio has a shot--they have live things that you can't preload onto an iPod--but the music rental business will go nowhere.

But it doesn't seem to me that the idea of renting music is ridiculous on its face. Thirty years ago people probably thought renting television was nuts.

Re:So... (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 7 years ago | (#18640601)

Maybe satellite radio has a shot--they have live things that you can't preload onto an iPod--but the music rental business will go nowhere.

I don't know if I would go that far, imagine an XM radio attachment for your iPod that would allow you access to any of the XM streams from your iPod just about anywhere in the United States (or even the world if their satellite coverage is good enough) combined with the expertise of competent DJs selecting tracks with intelligent commentary, there are still a few stations like this, mostly the non-clearchannel listener supported public radio stations (they haven't been driven completely off the dial yet), but the same thing would work with subscriptions, no more top 40 BS or payola because the users are actually paying their OWN money to listen to the stream and they don't want that so the services like XM shouldn't need to and won't do it. It all comes down to price, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the value of such a service is not zero (i.e. free or I wont listen) to a large number of potential iPod owners. In fact, I myself might be willing to pay as much as $10 per month for such a service (not including the hardware of course) and I suspect that many other people would be willing to pay that much or perhaps even more.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Pollardito (781263) | about 7 years ago | (#18640645)

The fact is the subscription music plan just sucks. It's like paying for radio. XM and sirus have a good idea, but very few people are willing to shell out money for music that stops playing when they stop paying.

I agree with you that people are not willing to pay, but what I am wondering is, why?
i don't think you guys are fair in comparing this to radio. with radio you can't control when/if the song you like plays, how often it plays, or how long it stays in the rotation. all of those are part of the reason that people buy albums to begin with, so obviously people were willing to pay to control when music plays before there was an internet. the only question is whether having music for a limited amount of time is worth the price relative to buying the CD or track where you get it forever, and that probably has more to do with:

A. do you tend to listen to a lot of new music and then move on to the next thing?
B. do you already own most of what you listen to in formats like CDs?
C. do you listen to music from a deep catalog or do you listen to things a smaller catalog a lot?

what strikes me about those things is nearly every one of them favors younger listeners as someone that would get more use out of renting music. A) they quickly move onto the next top 40 song, so they care very little that a year from now if they quit this service they can't listen to the stuff they would buy now; B) they don't already own most of what they listen to already, they're young and just starting to build their collection; and C) they probably listen to a few songs off tons of albums and are always adding new things into their list, so buying the equivalent catalog is prohibitive compared to subscribing to a service.

since most of Slashdot's readers are older than this audience and we probably don't even regularly talk music with people in that audience, it doesn't surprise me at all that we don't understand it's attractiveness

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 7 years ago | (#18640907)

You could have taken that $100 a month and bought DVDs (and nowadays much stuff on TV is now available on DVD) but instead people are RENTING TV. Why?

Because I can RECORD the rented TV shows so I *can* view them if I stop paying. Next question?

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

letxa2000 (215841) | about 7 years ago | (#18641637)

I agree with you that people are not willing to pay, but what I am wondering is, why? "It's like paying for radio." Yeah, but it's also like paying for television. It comes for free over the airwaves. Millions pay for cable, even though when you stop paying, the cable stops working.

I think the difference is that TV programs, most of the time, are something you probably only watch once. Sure, if you see an old movie on HBO you might tune in if there's nothing else to watch; and some TV programs might be worth buying the DVD later. But, for the most part, TV broadcasts are usually something that are usually consumed and then you're done. A few TV programs I really liked I did buy on DVD... only to only watch them one more time.

Music, on the other hand, I will listen to time and time again. I might go 10 or 15 years without listening to a given song, but when I want to hear it again, I don't want to have to be paying for some service to do it. Especially since most of the music I listen to is NOT new so there's no reason to pay for something that brings me new stuff I don't like. I'd rather have the stuff I want and not have to pay for it over and over.

Re:So... (1)

7Prime (871679) | about 7 years ago | (#18642187)

The fact is, the entertainment form changes to match the distrobution method. TV shows have always been light entertainment because:

A) you have to expect that many people will walk in in the middle of your show.
B) many people won't have time to finish the show
C) people will watch it once and never really need to watch it agian.

So currently, our TV watching habits match that of subscriber distrobution, and the entertainment style matches that of our viewing habits.

Popular music, which has been driven by radio since the 1920s, has revolved mostly around 3 minute songs with simple progressions and less defined musical arcs, because:

A) You have no idea what kind of environment the person is in, or what they are doing, therefor, there's a good posibility they don't really want to have to pay much attention to the music.
B) you have to be prepared for the fact that they're in the car, and will be getting out in just a few minutes, therefor, they're not going to want to have to dive into a 20 minute epic (I do, but I'm weird).

I'd like to see the death of radio, because it hasn't worked, in terms of bettering the genre of music as a whole, in fact, it's dumbed down the art form. I'd like to see people "take back" music into their own hands, and be forced to decide what THEY want to listen to. Sure, at first, they're going to choose to listen to the same old radio crap, but after a while, they'll be forced to seek out music that they like, if they don't want to have to listen to the same old thing over and over again. I know, for instance, that when I go to work, it's a 10 minute drive, so I have the option of putting on a 8-9 minute piece and being able to listen to it all the way through, I'm not limited to short songs. My iPod allows me to do that.

Traditionally, music was a lot longer than 3 minute songs... even folk music of the old days consisted of many many verses that might run 8 minutes or more. The concept that 8 minutes is too long for a song is entirely created by the contemporary distrobution method. This, among other things, might gradually change if we move away from the traditional "one size fits all" distrobution that radio provides.

Zune Meme Prediction (From October) (5, Interesting)

broward (416376) | about 7 years ago | (#18638999)

As predicted in October, 2006, based on keyword rate-of-change, Zune is a flop.

http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme/?entr y=zune_meme_rerun [realmeme.com]

I believe the Microsoft attempted a viral marketing / meme manipulation scheme over the Internet, but I can't prove it. It's getting harder and harder to "advertise", partly because of the flood of information from the IT age, partly due to increasing resistence to memetic propagation.

http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme/?entr y=zune_meme_successful_prediction_so [realmeme.com]

Re:Zune Meme Prediction (From October) (1)

owlnation (858981) | about 7 years ago | (#18639497)

I believe the Microsoft attempted a viral marketing / meme manipulation scheme over the Internet, but I can't prove it. It's getting harder and harder to "advertise", partly because of the flood of information from the IT age, partly due to increasing resistence to memetic propagation.
No kidding! "Squirt" as a meme... search for that and guess what you'll find!

Re:Zune Meme Prediction (From October) (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18639897)

Google trends is neat, but it doesn't really say much about anything other than how many people are looking for more information about thing x. For instance, the most probable explanation for the peak in ipod searches in the Google trends graph in your link is Christmas shoppers. People aren't indicating that they have caught the ipod meme, they are looking to buy one. Why do I think this? Because the same damn thing happened in 2006:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=zune%2C+ipod%2C+san sa&ctab=0&geo=US&date=all [google.com]

New Motto? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639931)

Maybe they should try a new marketing campaign with some new mottoes?

Zune: It's brown for a reason.
Zune: Now with 50% more draconian DRM!
Zune: More space than a Nomad! Wireless! Lame!
Love squirting friends & strangers? Buy a Zune!

Uhh, never mind. It's pretty hard to sell those things [google.com]...

Subsidizing probably won't help (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 7 years ago | (#18639001)

Enough marketshare has been lost that reducing the base price isn't likely to spawn more sales. The music will still cost about the same, the DRM is about the same, and the feature comparison is about the same.

In this case, Microsoft's just admitting that it has an unsuccessful, come-lately design that isn't taking the market by storm. In the mobile/cell business, you sell hardware differently, based on features, pizzaz, functionality, and rate plans that suit an audience. Only the rate plan might change, but the RIAA is going to charge Microsoft what it charges Real and Apple; they're unlikely to discount the 'minutes'.

Bad move: it cheapens the product rather than advancing it.

On the contrary! (4, Funny)

parvenu74 (310712) | about 7 years ago | (#18639107)

With MS dropping the price, and with Apple/EMI selling non-DRM AAC tracks (which the Zune supports), MS should be able to sell literally DOZENS more of these bad boys!

Re:On the contrary! (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 7 years ago | (#18639343)

Maybe even dozens of dozens!

The Zune is interesting primarily as a demonstration of MS's inability to grab a market where they don't have the monopoly leverage, and aren't willing to sell the product at a loss for several years. For the zune to make a dent in iPod sales, it needed a compelling advantage, and "squirting" songs that expire after three days sure wasn't it.

-jcr

Re:On the contrary! (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | about 7 years ago | (#18639605)

"For the zune to make a dent in iPod sales, it needed a compelling advantage, and "squirting" songs that expire after three days sure wasn't it."
I think the idea of sharing songs/media wirelessly via your digital music device is a good one. But Microsoft's model relies on Zune being a monopoly product where everyone has it. If they had approached it as an open standard where any player could share a song with another wireless-enabled player, to me at least, it seems like a nice little feature. I guess my point is that that feature seems like it has some merit but the execution sounds poor. (I am neither a Zune or iPod owner.)

I suspect that you are wrong. (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#18639167)

In particular, Quicken OWNED the money market. They lost to MS money because it was subsidized by being included for free on Windows. Likewise, XBox when it first came out got nowhere. When MS cut the prices WELL below the costs, then it started to pick up. Even now, they are still not at a break-even and the xbox division is still a major money loser. But I would be willing to bet that 1 or more of the competitors will be wiped out shortly and then MS will own the market.

Re:I suspect that you are wrong. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 7 years ago | (#18639467)

When you sell below cost, it can be viewed as predatory pricing, something Microsoft knows well. But the 'carriers' in this case aren't willing to discount their price- unless there's a 'sweetheart' deal. In the mobiles/cell markets, the carriers subsidize the cost, not Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, etc.

And while many companies try to 'buy' market share, they do so with eventual business models in mind. Microsoft doesn't own the software, like they do with the Xbox, and don't control how the software is used-- only that they want to be a sales channel for it, and in doing so, pay the same software base cost that others do. It's a faulty model.

Re:I suspect that you are wrong. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#18640717)

Doesn't matter what the model is. MS has LOST money on everything except for their OS and Office. They are using this to undercut all else. They believe that once they have the competitor out of the industry, then they will make it back. Considering that they did it to Dr.Dos, Stacker, etc, they appear to have the most profitable business model going (not necessarily the best, just most profitable).

Who? (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 7 years ago | (#18640933)

Which competitor do you expect to be wiped out? Nintendo is making money hand-over-fist and Sony has enough cash to sell PS3s at a loss for years...

(And Quicken never lost to MS Money...it outsells MS Money by a very large margin.)

New paradigm for portable music (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#18639475)

I'm going to agree with your detractors.

A zune, even with it's questionable attributes, is going to be quite attractive at a $49 or $99 pricepoint - even if you get stuck with a year or two of $16.95/mo service. Americans will delay any capital investment - especially for entertainment - even if they pay through the nose on a regular basis. Cell phones, cableTV, satTV have far and away proven this to be true.

I hate to admit it, but MS might - I say might - be on to something here. Something bad, imho, but I'm pretty far outside of the mainstream when it comes to this stuff.

Now, they could end up being the first mouse instead of the early bird - I'm thinking prodigy and pop-up ads at the moment - but this could herald the beginning of a new paradigm in portable music. (Man, that's a lot of marketingspeak - I feel slimy just typing it).

Re:New paradigm for portable music (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 7 years ago | (#18639775)

My other comments stand: Microsoft is subsidizing the Zune, but can't control the costs of the 'minutes'-- the music. This is lipstick on a pig, and no, I'm not an AppleFanBoi. Apple got a whopping headstart that SanDisk, and a raft of others haven't been able to touch. I'm reminded of paraphrasing a Stones lyric: they can't give away on Seventh Avenue.

Re:New paradigm for portable music (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 years ago | (#18641601)

A zune, even with it's questionable attributes, is going to be quite attractive at a $49 or $99 pricepoint - even if you get stuck with a year or two of $16.95/mo service. Americans will delay any capital investment - especially for entertainment - even if they pay through the nose on a regular basis. Cell phones, cableTV, satTV have far and away proven this to be true.

I'm not so sure about this.

You're right, Americans have definitely hooked onto the subsidized equipment idea with cellphones, cable TV, and satellite TV. However, there's a fundamental difference between these and the Zune: a cellphone, cable box, or satellite dish/receiver are utterly useless without the service that goes with them. (And, different from other countries, we have two incompatible standards for cellphones so there's more lock-in between a phone and a provider.) So getting the equipment subsidized with a service agreement seems like a natural pairing to most. Why buy a separate satellite dish and receiver if it only works with one company's service? Or why buy a cable box if it only works with the local cable provider, so you can't take it with you when you move out-of-state?

Portable music players are a little different. While the Zune does offer the option of using their monthly service, you can also load your own files on it. So this subsidization offer would only be of interest to those who would be interested in the monthly service; people who just want to load their own music won't want it.

Personally, I have a subsidized cellphone because it's the cheapest route available to have a cellphone; it'd be pointless to buy an "unlocked" phone because the plans all cost about the same, and the phones aren't very compatible with other networks (Verizon and Sprint vs. T-mobile and Alltel, etc.) However, for music I have an iRiver that I got on ebay cheaply because it does what I want: it plays Ogg files, and was easily upgraded to a 30GB drive; I have no interest in downloading DRMed music from any online music store, and in fact I have no interest in paying for downloaded music without DRM either. If I'm going to pay for music (which I do quite a lot), I'll get it on CD in a permanent, durable, lossless format I can rip to the format and bitrate of my choice, complete with a printed booklet. I can then store the original safely away in case of HD crashes or DVD-R backup degradation or failure. I have CDs from the mid-80s which still play perfectly; I can't say that about much other computer hardware or media.

Worked great for the XBox (5, Insightful)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | about 7 years ago | (#18639045)

Subsidising the cost of hardware in the hopes of making up the money on content has worked wonders for the profits of the XBox division...

I know, this is a different business model, but it looks like J Allard just trying to do what's "worked" in the past.

Re:Worked great for the XBox (3, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | about 7 years ago | (#18639349)

What are you talking about. Microsoft lost billions on the original XBox. In fact, the reason that Microsoft came out with the 360 early was that it wanted to get the original XBox off of shelves as soon as possible. Microsoft is doing much better in this particular iteration, but that's mostly because it moved away from subsidizing the hardware to such a ridiculous extent. The XBox is still a long way from being profitable. Right now the best you can say about the XBox is that it is losing money at a slower pace.

Microsoft has been able to buy a lot of friends by giving away hardware, and it tricked Sony into following a similar ruinous path, so it is not all bad news for the boys in Redmond, but Microsoft's investors are likely to jump ship if every single new venture involves flushing billions of dollars down the crapper.

Re:Worked great for the XBox (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639677)

Don't be absurd.

You had better check out the losses at similar points in time between the first Xbox and the 360 before making any claims about progress. So far Microsoft is roughly generating the same amount of red ink and Microsoft has gotten better at hiding the losses this time around. Even the claims of breaking even are almost exactly the same with the break even point supposedly being 'about a year to two away'. Ballmer had publicly stated that 2008 was their target for 360 breaking even but that was before the true extent of the hardware defect fiasco had become apparent.

And I don't what the hell you are claiming about Microsoft 'tricking' Sony into anything. Sony has been on their same hardware design and release schedule everyone has known about for the past five years. Sony's wildly popular and very profitable PS2 is still outselling the Xbox 360 in all three regions while production of the PS3 is ramping up to full capacity. The 360 is completely dead in Japan. Floundering in Europe. And selling to the very same people as the first Xbox. Just check the worldwide installed base numbers at similar points in time. The 360 is selling at a slightly worse rate compared to the first Xbox.

So, no, Microsoft is irrelevant to Sony's or Nintendo's plans. The 360 is selling to the very same ~20 million US fans while bleeding similar amounts of cash. After five years and many billions wasted, Microsoft has made absolutely zero progress in the console market.

Yeah, 'the boys in Redmond' are loving the Xbox...

Re:Worked great for the XBox (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18640559)

Sony's wildly popular and very profitable PS2 is still outselling the Xbox 360 in all three regions while production of the PS3 is ramping up to full capacity. The 360 is completely dead in Japan. Floundering in Europe. And selling to the very same people as the first Xbox.

The real story is that Sony didn't have to be tricked into anything, they shot their own foot. You think the 360 is floundering in europe? The PS3 sales numbers dropped over 80% in the second week there. If the 360 is dead and rotting, the PS3 has been fucking vaporized.

Re:Worked great for the XBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18640575)

You want to talk about floundering in Europe... The 360 isn't the console on clearance already [flickr.com]...

XBox: Yes, Zune, actually YES, too (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 years ago | (#18639583)

Subsidising the cost of hardware in the hopes of making up the money on content has worked wonders for the profits of the XBox division...

And Microsoft learnt this from Nintendo, Sony, Sega, Atari, et al.

I know, this is a different business model, but it looks like J Allard just trying to do what's "worked" in the past.

Actually this isn't a different business model at all. If Apple is making a profit on the iPod, then good on them. Microsoft has long used their profitable divisions to underwrite their heavy losses in other endeavours -- Zune in this regard is no different. If Microsoft had the plan right from the beginning they could have run it exactly the way game consoles work, as long as they continued to sell a lot of music through their online store or other stores which paid them a fee per tune.

That Microsoft thought they could just muscle in and proclaim what they had to be great and desirable in every way was clearly another Bay Of Pigs mindset at work. Microsoft seeks to impose themselves through the ubiquity of their interfaces and tie everything to Windows as a common point.

Microsoft should just cut their losses, offer everyone a payment to take it back and close up shop.

Re:XBox: Yes, Zune, actually YES, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639913)

And Microsoft learnt this from Nintendo....

Oh, you fail. Nintendo makes a profit on their consoles AND the games.

Re:Worked great for the XBox (1)

killjoe (766577) | about 7 years ago | (#18639817)

This is different. This is the new MS strategy known as "pay people to use your products". They are doing it with their search engine too. They are offering to pay corporations money to make their employees use the live search engine.

They have more money then they have interesting and compelling products so it may work for them although it's an oddball tactic. Paying people to use your products I think I missed that on econ 101.

ZING!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18640755)

Wow, that was a screamer! Just as well it went over their heads or they would have been knocked clean off!

Hint to those replying: There is a reason ObligatoryUserName used quotes on the word: worked.

Re:Worked great for the XBox (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642139)

Microsoft to engage in predatory pricing? Wouldn't that be a violation of their anti-trust agreement?

I wonder how many 65% actually is. (2, Funny)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 7 years ago | (#18639147)

MS: We have a 65% increase in subscriptions! WOO HOO!
interviewer: and how many people is that, exactly?
MS: well, 13, actually...

(dunno if my math is right...)

Re:I wonder how many 65% actually is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639319)

Smallest possible numbers are.

Before: 20
After: 33
Increase: 65%

I actually saw a guy with a Zune yesterday (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 7 years ago | (#18639521)

I actually saw a guy with a Zune yesterday on the subway. So far: Number of Zunes seen - one. Number of Creative Zens and other off-brands seen - a few. Number of ipods seen: About 10,000.

Re:I actually saw a guy with a Zune yesterday (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 7 years ago | (#18640853)

I have an ipod, that my company *gave* me. My gf has a Zen Nomad 30g. Her sister has a Zen mini (dunno the model). My brother has a Zen Nomad 30g. My mom has a Zen Nomad 30g. Oh, and besides the ipod, I also have a PJRC [pjrc.com] that currently has a 20 gig drive, because it gets unhappy with the 160 gig that I strapped on there, and the 80 I had on there died recently. That one gets by far the most comments. ("That's a WHAT?" "A ten year old MP3 player." "They *had* those back then?" "Yeah, they looked like this.")

Re:I actually saw a guy with a Zune yesterday (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | about 7 years ago | (#18641745)

I also have a PJRC that currently has a 20 gig drive, because it gets unhappy with the 160 gig that I strapped on there, and the 80 I had on there died recently. That one gets by far the most comments.

Yeah, I can see where that'd be useful.

Seriously, it looks like a good and fun project. But even if I built it, I wouldn't actually take it with me anywhere. At best it'd for hooking up to the home stereo.

Re:I actually saw a guy with a Zune yesterday (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about 7 years ago | (#18642723)

Yeah, I installed it in my car, programmed to 'shuffle', and some day it'll go in a kitplane. It's entirely nonportable. But in 1997, when (I think) I put it together, there was nothing like it.

Check out Google Trends for "zune" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639189)

http://www.google.com/trends?q=zune&ctab=0&geo=all &date=all [google.com]

The news items that have been picked out are priceless (in chronological order):
        -Microsoft Confirms Zune
        -Microsoft Unveils Zune
        -Microsoft launches Zune
        -Zune misses top-10 sales list
        -Zune Executive to Leave Microsoft

Re:Check out Google Trends for "zune" (5, Funny)

Steve--Balllmer (1070854) | about 7 years ago | (#18639299)

you forgot the last one...

-Zune Executive found dead due to acute "deceleration of chair to head"

65% increase in sales. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639207)

So 20 people were subscribed in december, 33 people signed up in jaunary (probably half of em were christmas gifts to family from microsoft employees).

And Microsoft looked at these numbers and saw the future of the zune.

I strongly doubt (1)

u19925 (613350) | about 7 years ago | (#18639239)

I don't think they can subsidize Zune player. If they want to subsidize, they must have some way of recovering money. What model do they have to recover money? According to Apple, only 22 songs are being purchased for every player. If the figure for Zune is similar, there is no way they can recover any significant amount. Other model would be for them to sign up contract like cell phone providers do. But wait, cell phones are useless without service and hence the service providers can force contract. MP3 players are useful on their own and hence it would be hard to force users into contract. So my feeling is that microsoft may be exploring to subsidize, but it is unlikely to actually do so.

Re:I strongly doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642451)

>According to Apple, only 22 songs are being purchased for every player

But that adds up to January 2007 numbers [wikipedia] of 2 Billion songs, and almost 90 Million iPods. Hardly a drop in the bucket. I realize your point is Microsoft can't hope to attain those numbers. But what Zune does offer, as Jerry Holkins noted, is the makings of a dynamite subscription service. Drop the per-song cost down to a few pennies for files you can keep for a month, and start milking for a year or two of genres that people like the occasional squirt of, and you've got a business model not unlike cell-phones.

Absolutely (1)

fermion (181285) | about 7 years ago | (#18639315)

MS last best hope for the Zune is to promote it as a continuously updated Top 40 player. Always have the music that your friends are listening to.

The only problem is that I don't see how they could make more than $100, even on a two year contract. which is half the retail cost. I suppose if they are willing to lose money on the Xbox, then they can do the same thing on the Zune.

BTW, when I checked on google, it appeared no one has paid for the sponsored on the keyword zune, just the side ads. It is interesting that for ipod, apple has paid a sponsorship. It is also interesting that MS has done so for Vista. But not Zune.

Re:Absolutely (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#18639483)

That is because no one cool uses Google for searching anymore! MSN search is the new Google just as the Zune is the new IPod. You are like so out if it. So sell off your Wii and Nintendo DS and get a cool PSP and PS3 like the rest of us.

Re:Absolutely (2, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | about 7 years ago | (#18639949)

Don't you think this would be somewhat funnier (not quite funny, mind you, just less "unfunny") if you had said "get a cool XBox 360 like the rest of us"?

Re:Absolutely (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#18641263)

MS last best hope for the Zune is to promote it as a continuously updated Top 40 player. Always have the music that your friends are listening to.


Now, all they've got to do is make it price-competitive with a portable FM radio.

Re:Absolutely (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 years ago | (#18641651)

They could make it more like the iPod Nano, with maybe 256MB or 512MB of flash memory and a tiny screen. After all, you don't need very much storage space to hold the top 40 or top 100 songs.

Trying to come onto the market with a big 30GB drive when everyone's buying the smaller flash-based players was pretty dumb. Personally, I like having a big HD to hold my entire music collection at once, but it seems like most people (especially teenagers with their fickle and quickly-changing tastes) want something small that they can take with them everywhere and not worry about HD crashes.

Cause the cell phone industry is the one to follow (1)

tknn (675865) | about 7 years ago | (#18639317)

Even the cell phone industry hates this model. They could just come out with something innovative that works well. Or even buy a company that produces such a product. But no, instead, they choose to become the low price discounter.

MS, you will have had 9 months or so to come out with a competitor to the soon-to-come iPod video. Instead you waste your time on marketing gimmicks instead of product. Why not bring out a nano-sized movie player with touchscreen controls? Give me an e-mail and I will design it for you and it will be better than that piece of crap Zune for a very minimal amount of money.

Although I have to admit a subscription based music service is probably the long term way to go if for no other reason than to have access to music wherever without having to drag along a hard drive (or 200GB iPod).

The Xbox 360 Was Supposed To Fund The Zune (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639513)

On one of the Microsoft employee message boards last year one of the Home Entertainment guys was commenting about how the Xbox 360 was supposed to fund the Zune's low price and help undercut the iPod line. Of course with the insane hardware defects and the absurdly high costs Microsoft is having to spend replacing dead consoles over and over again has added hundreds of millions in red ink to the already bleeding Xbox product. Add to that things like the move to 65nm has been delayed by at least six months and the poor sales of the console - it is selling as poorly as the first Xbox - and any hope of the Xbox line being able to help drive the Zune out into the market are pretty much done.

Marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18639553)

MS obviously knows how much we all love the albatross that is cellphone vendors' lockin tactic. At least the cell phone guys have oligopoly, what's MS got with Zune?

Wild Ideas being considered by the company (2, Interesting)

rancher dan 3 (960065) | about 7 years ago | (#18639657)

From the article: "The spokesman said a subsidized Zune is only one of a series of "wild ideas" being considered by the company's entertainment and devices division..." How about making the device more useful as a wild idea? Microsoft's ultimate sin is that they're lazy and cheap. They'd rather loose the franchise then spend the time and programmer resources to add features that people would find compelling. For starters, how about wireless syncing, web browsing, having an Outlook client, and being able to read Hotmail mail? Removing a ton of the DRM crap would also be nice. What? the music companies won't play ball? &*(%ing buy one of them and throw management out on its ear. You've got more cash than most 3rd world nations. /grump off

News was based on out of context comment (1)

sonicbox (166944) | about 7 years ago | (#18639749)

According to "Zuneinsider" Cesar Menendez @ Microsoft, Jason's comment was taken out of context:

"as for the 'free zune w/ subscription thread,' that was taken out of context. Jason was speaking of it as a hypothetical, and it got reported on pretty widely as the official plan of record. the trouble w/ hypotheticals + the web + zune fans, I guess :)"

from http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2007/04/04/zunerama -to-co-author-zune-for-dummies-book.aspx#comments [zuneinsider.com]

Subscription music services make very little per customer at $15/month. The real profit is in the device sales. I don't see this happening anytime soon...

Re:News was based on out of context comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18641197)

What does he know? It's not Zune fans who spread the news. It's people who laugh at Zune and are amused that Microsoft already hypothetically plan on giving away Zune.

Whether or not MS follows through with the subsidy, the fact that they ponder the business model says a lot about the state of Zune as a business.

Nice slashvertisement (1)

News for nerds (448130) | about 7 years ago | (#18639855)

for Zune Pass subscription service. No one knows what Zune Pass subscription service is and have interest but it changes by this article.

Is price the problem? (1)

Powertrip (702807) | about 7 years ago | (#18640057)

I dunno about what everyone else thinks, but I don't really believe that price is the major reason that the Zune is an apparent 'flop'. Sure it has interesting features, but in my opinion (any my wifes), the thing is too-big, and too-ugly. The market is so fashion concious (hence the color options appearing, just like cell phone covers) I don't think the Zune would do much better if it was priced $100 less than an iPod. Now add in the easy in-car integration and home-audio integration available for the ubiquitous iPod, and you have quite a tough sell....

Besides, until Microsoft creates its own 'reality distortion field' like Apple has, they are basically out of luck :)

Brad

Re:Is price the problem? (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | about 7 years ago | (#18641177)

Your not talking about the 'ipod connector' I know a number of UK car adds are mentioning as a iPod integration are you? Those adverts annoy me so much then again I suppose saying a Line In Jack connector would be to confusing for most people. I'n not seen any 'iPod connectors' which wern't a standard input jack port much to a friends dismay after she paid £50 for it and I showed her how a £10 tape did EXACTLY the same thing and further more my phone could work it as well.
Gotta love marketing

Re:Is price the problem? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | about 7 years ago | (#18641851)

There's some which have a dock connector wired straight into the audio, put your iPod into it and they're ready to play - when I was buying a new car last year I asked the salesman about them and he said not to bother, there was already a line-in and the difference in sound wasn't enough to make it worth paying for.

Just like PocketPC/WinCE, got $10B to spare do ya (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | about 7 years ago | (#18640101)

pretty predictable considering WindowsCE/PocketPC/PocketMobile/etc is a blistering success and it only cost Microsoft over $10 billion and 10 years to purchase this success. But hey, they were only fighting Palm for that market and now they actually have to purchase marketshare from not only a consistently good design house but also one that captured the minds/hearts of non-geeks.

I predict it'll take another 10 years but this time, it's gonna cost Microsoft atleast $20 billion in losses to do it. And, in 10 years, Microsoft will not be the same company it is now or was in the past. So, in about 5 years, you'll want to watch out for people driving their cars while attempting to reboot the Zune music player system.

Microsoft; the maker of innovative products businesses must be paid to sell and customers must be paid to use.

LoB

welcome to the social! (1)

hxnwix (652290) | about 7 years ago | (#18640993)

welcome to the social!
sign up for a zune pass!
welcome to the social!
sign up for a passport account
welcome to the social!
provide name, address, telephone number, age and credit card number to complete registration!
skip ... *crash*

welcome to the social!
sign up for a zune pass!
welcome to the social!
sign up for a passport account
welcome to the social!
provide name, address, telephone number, age and credit card number to complete registration!
skip ... *crash*

welcome to the social!
sign up for a zune pass!
welcome to the social!
sign up for a passport account
welcome to the social!
provide name, address, telephone number, age and credit card number to complete registration!
ok ... *crash*

welcome to the social!
sign up for a zune pass!
welcome to the social!
sign up for a passport account
welcome to the social!
provide name, address, telephone number, age and credit card number to complete registration!
cancel
open options panel ... *crash*

uninstall ... *crash*

*defenestrated zune plummets 7 floors & impacts pedestrian, inducing another case of severe cranial trauma*

quick math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18641029)

So you take 20 subscribers, add 65%, and you get 20 + (0.65 * 20)=33. So you have 20 subscribers, add 65% (another 13) and now you have 33 people. The numbers work out perfectly! Too bad it doesn't state how many of these users are running the good-old brown zune! I can only dream of plugging my brown zune into the radio speaker of my Lada and crusin all over town with the windows down. Kewel baby! I am *such* a wild and crazy guy!

Isn't this illegal? (4, Insightful)

Fross (83754) | about 7 years ago | (#18641141)

A company using money gained from another field in order to price something artificially low so as to stifle competition - i thought that was monopolistic and anti-competitive. Certainly supermarkets (here in the Uk at least) are prohibited from selling things artificially lower than cost in order to force out small businesses - why doesn't the same apply here?

If Apple happened to ONLY make iPods, and Microsoft subsidised the Zune's sales, wouldn't they be trying to force Apple out of the market, by using their huge capital gained from software? That sounds illegal to me.

Why wasn't it illegal for Sun (with Java)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18641575)

To paraphrase the posting by Fross (bold emphasis is my stuff):

A company (Sun Microsystems) using money gained from another field (Sun SPARC chips and Solaris operating system) in order to price something artificially low (Java compiler is FREE, development tools are FREE, distributables are FREE) so as to stifle competition - i thought that was monopolistic and anti-competitive. Certainly supermarkets (here in the Uk at least) are prohibited from selling things artificially lower than cost in order to force out small businesses - why doesn't the same apply here (Sun Microsystems)?


I've never understood the Java "business model", especially when Sun sued Microsoft to require Microsoft to ship a Java VM along with Windows.

Re:Isn't this illegal? (1)

bogjobber (880402) | about 7 years ago | (#18642011)

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure it's legal. There are two tactics that they could use that would be illegal. One, they lower the price and drive the competition out of the market, followed by them raising the price (i.e. predatory pricing). The other is if they use an existing monopoly in some way to gain a monopoly in music players. Neither Zune nor the Zune subscription service is a monopoly (they're not even significant players in the market). The only way I could think for them to do that is to lock out other music players from being used on Windows, which would be supremely stupid. Either way, for it to be illegal they will have to drive competition out. The Zune would have to actually *be* a monopoly, or at least have significantly large market share, in order to claim anti-competition.

Just look at the Xbox. It's was/is massively subsidized in order to create a larger market share. It's not considered illegal, however, because they don't have a monopoly on console sales. They still have plenty of competitors. They just sell it as a loss leader.

If they actually figure out some way to do this profitably, more power to them. I seriously doubt very many people are that interested in the subscription service to buy a Zune, even if they do get a decent deal. I mean, locking yourself into a phone contract is one thing. At least that is something you need. Locking myself into an music subscription contract does not interest me a damn bit.

Buy Vista ... get a FREE Zune... Oh wait.... (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 7 years ago | (#18641391)

How about, Buy Vista and get a FREE Zune... Oh wait.... Vista DRM doesn't support the Zune or Fairplay. Almost a good idea.

Apple's advertisements nail MS lack of cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18641435)

How many times are we going to keep seeing this meme, about Microsoft needing to bribe people to use their products?

"Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops":

http://slashdot.org/articles/06/12/27/1423234.shtm l [slashdot.org]

"Microsoft Financial Incentives for Live Search Data":

http://slashdot.org/articles/07/03/17/035227.shtml [slashdot.org]

And now this Zune one. Any other examples?

It must be nice to have billions of dollars of extra cash to be able to spend on bribes to try to buy market share, but that doesn't seem like a winning long-term business strategy. Surely the financial analysts will see through the bankruptcy of these tactics?

Apple's advertisements just utterly nailed Microsoft's lack of cool. Microsoft is like that annoying boorish nebbishy kid in the neighborhood who wants so badly to fit in and just annoys everybody by mimicking what they do, and then winds up "buying" friends ("I'll let you have my Robo-puppy 2000 if you'll play with me")

Hey Microsoft? Go home. Grow up. Get cool. And then come back and play. If the legal system is going to anthropomorphisize companies as though they are individuals, well, then Microsoft, you are such an out-of-touch individual, it's getting embarassing. "Squirting"??? "The social"??? It's like that guy in the Offspring song who was pretty fly for a white guy:

"He needs some cool tunes
Not just any will suffice.
But they didn't have Ice Cube
So he bought Vanilla Ice.
Now cruising in his Pinto, he sees homies as he pass.
But if he looks twice
They're gonna kick his lily ass."

http://www.plyrics.com/lyrics/offspring/prettyflyf orawhiteguy.html [plyrics.com]

Microsoft, Apple and Google are kicking your lilly ass.

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 7 years ago | (#18641519)

This isn't a bad idea, really. You would pay about 50% of the cost of an ipod, pay a subscription fee of about $10-$20 per month, and have unrestricted legal access to virtually any song. For a slightly greater fee, TV shows and video as well. For people that, on average, pay for more music per month on itunes than this, it's great.

EXCEPT : Microsoft has a history of loading products down with extra "features" no-one uses, but having the basic functionality be SLOW and buggy.

If *I* were a developer for a consumer product like this, I would have just TWO goals for both the hardware interface and software side :
                  1. It must be VERY EASY to understand exactly what it is doing, with a minimum of options presented to the user. More advanced options should still be there, but in menus.
                  2. It must be FAST and RELIABLE. As in, LIGHTING fast - no more than about 100 msec delay for navigating ANYWHERE in the UI on the player, and it should load and be responsive to commands within 5 seconds on a 1 ghz PC, for the uploading software. If it is a subscription service depending on a server for authentication, the server should not be ever down more than 10 minutes per week. To accomplish this, there must be hot backups and a software architecture that allows for maintenance and updating without shutting down anything.

As we all know, Microsoft fails miserably at the two goals. Funny thing is, the products they make that people like : Microsoft Office 2003, the Xbox, both somewhat meet these goals...(I haven't tried Office 2003 on a 1GhZ machine, but when I finally installed it this year, I was surprised at how little disk space (180 megs) and load times it consumed)

Google has always met these goals.

So, shouldn't Jobs call Reindorp irresponsible? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 7 years ago | (#18641777)

I mean, when Jobs irresponsible [slashdot.org] for said that recording companies ought to eliminated DRM, the press reported that "Executives at the major labels dismiss Jobs' challenge, saying that eliminating DRM isn't going to happen," and Reindorp, "dismisses Jobs' remarks 'irresponsible.'"

Turnaround is FairPlay... so Jobs ought to suggest that it was irresponsible for Reindorp to speculate that Microsoft might engage in predatory pricing.

Jobs should call Reindorp "irresponsible" (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 7 years ago | (#18641803)

(Sorry, accidentally hit "OK" when my article was in an unusually incoherent state... let's try again...)

When Jobs said that recording companies ought to eliminate DRM, the press reported that "Executives at the major labels dismiss Jobs' challenge, saying that eliminating DRM isn't going to happen," while Reindorp, "dismisses Jobs' remarks as 'Irresponsible.' [podcastingnews.com]"

Turnaround is FairPlay... so Jobs ought to suggest that it was irresponsible for Reindorp to speculate that Microsoft might engage in predatory pricing.

Subscriptions only make a $3.00/month profit (2, Interesting)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 7 years ago | (#18641969)

This article was written by a member of the Microsoft Zune team. It basically says that the music industry charges $11.95/per user for subscription music on portable devices. Microsoft and most of the other subscription services charge $14.95/mo. That's only a $3.00/mo profit. Even if they give away a $60 1GB flash player. It still would take them 20 months just to break even.

http://www.zunester.com/2007/01/subscription-servi ce-finance-101.html [zunester.com]

I fully expect them to subsidize it! (2, Interesting)

codepunk (167897) | about 7 years ago | (#18642007)

This has little to do with what they make on zune players the money is in the media. If they can over
take Apple in the format war then they own the media and the only means by which to play it.
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