Summary:

The offical retail details are out on first-gen Zune … It’ll cost $249, as expected. If you want to spend more, the press release promises…

The offical retail details are out on first-gen Zune … It’ll cost $249, as expected. If you want to spend more, the press release promises that consumers can choose from “a full line of accessories to enhance the Zune experience.” The price is competitive with Apple’s 30G iPod, although with FM tuner, WiFi, preloaded audio and video content, a larger screen, three different colors (for differentiation the third color is — ugh — brown) and lower production volume, it’s unlikely Microsoft intends to make money on this out of the box. Of course, that was the approach Redmond went with on the original Xbox, and look how fast it grabbed market share. Some of the Zune accessories seem like Hail Mary passes — a $29 “gear bag” is not going to create any Zune ecosystem — and the much-ballyhooed sharing features may be come much-maligned features once people note the DRM restrictions. A classic Microsoft 1.0 product.
Songs available for download at the Zune Marketplace service will cost about 99 cents a song, same as other online stores. It will sell a music subscription pass for $14.99 a month, and says it will offer 2 million-plus songs at launch.
Staci adds: Microsoft execs promised the pricing would be competitive and it is; it could be argued that the included features like the FM tuner, which are add-ons for iPods, make it a better value.

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