"The software maker plans to announce on Wednesday a price cut for its flash-based models. The 4GB version will drop to $99, the 8GB model will drop by $10 to $139, and the 16GB model will sell for $179, down from $199. Microsoft is also cutting prices for several of its Zune accessories. The cuts take effect on Wednesday in the U.S. and on Friday in Canada."
Our colleague over at Zune Thoughts, David Tucker, is excited about the price cuts that Microsoft announced yesterday, and even calls them "welcome news." You'd be hard-pressed to get me to agree with that statement. Microsoft has been playing catchup with the Zune since they rolled out the first version of it. While the iPod didn't launch as a great device (in fact, the first generation iPods were awful and expensive) it matured in a few years and took over the market. Microsoft's general attitude with the Zune has been "Hey! We have an MP3 player out on the market, too!" They underpowered the WiFi and embraced DRM in insane ways (except, of course, for their own DRM, Plays for Sure, which they abandoned) and tweaked the design a little at a time but made no major changes. The software interface is all well and good, but it's still, in the end, not an iPod which means you don't have access to the number one digital music retailer in the world.
I'm not writing this to bash the Zune, and you'll rarely see me write a post like this here, but this was one time where I just had to. The amount of desperation exhibited by Microsoft here is almost to the point of being embarassing and if they want people to think of the Zune as a first-class device, it's time they stopped acting like it was a second-class citizen.