Zune HD to be available in lower price

Microsoft in the past few days has quietly cut prices on the Zune HD through an at least temporary promo. The touchscreen media player now costs $190 for a 16GB model at Amazon, or $32 less than the original price; the 32GB model has dropped by a similar amount to $250.

Microsoft’s own store has also dropped its prices by a lesser amount, to $200 for a 16GB Zune HD and $270 for a 32GB edition. Walmart and other retailers are also closely matching Amazon’s prices.

Officially, Microsoft has only said that the new prices are part of "sales" and implied that they may be temporary, although it hasn’t said if or when the promo will end. The cuts, however, give it about twice as much capacity at the same price as an iPod touch or else a significant discount for similar capacity.

They price drops come as an attempt to spur sales post-holidays and suggest sales have cooled significantly since the September release. Microsoft has implemented such cuts in the past when Zune players weren’t faring particularly strongly and suggests as a result that the effective restart of the Zune line has had little direct impact on the company’s ability to increase its market share. Historically, Microsoft has had about 2 percent of the media player market while Apple has had over 70 percent.

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