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Zune for free with a phone-like plan? Print E-mail
Written by Kostas Tzounopoulos   
Wednesday, 04 April 2007
According to Zune marketing director, Jason Reindorp, Microsoft is looking at using the Zune Pass subscription just like mobile phone providers use their plans. This means a future flash version of Zune, could be released for a low price or even for free with a Zune Pass subscription plan...

Computer World had an article some days ago talking about Five things Microsoft must do to make Zune a success . Market experts give a low grade to the marketing approach Microsoft has selected for Zune and focus at the following corrections:

  • Forget the social: Zune should stop advertising its Wifi social features. The Wifi social features should advertise Zune!
  • Look back and look forward:Although iPod is very successful, many non-tech people still don't know what an MP3 player is. Explain it in simple terms. Also add features which differentiate it from the iPod.
  • Get some flash: Extend the Zune line to Flash Memory Players.
  • Push subscriptions: A feature that iPods lacks and Microsft should advertise it more.
  • Make it sexy, make it work: Better look and more features like Podcasting support.

You may agree or may disagree with many opinions expressed in this article, but thats not the reason I mention it today. Reindorp while talking about the "pushing of subscription", he says:

The subscription service was a solid move on our part. We've seen 65% growth in our subscription base, although the number is still small. It could be better and it could become different -- we're looking at what other flavors of subscriptions there could be. We've been looking at the subscription model where you pay a certain amount and you essentially get the cell phone for free.

The current version of Zune costs too much to be sold for free with a subscription service. Microsoft will release flash memory player(s) by the end of 2007. In this category, a low cost / low memory player like the iPod nano or shuffle is possible to be sold for free with a subscription plan of 6 months or 1 year. If not for $15 per month, for a bit more giving the option to subscribers to "buy" a certain amount of tracks normally (like eMusic does). The ideal player IMO should connect to the Marketplace from every Wireless Hotspot and download by itself tracks and albums using the subscription service. So its not that important the size of the memory. Videos are far from subscription plans, so the screen size is not as important also.


Zune Pass subscription


This step would mean Microsoft will use the Zune Marketplace and its Zune Pass plan, to advertise Zune players. It is the opposite way than the current marketing approach but back in the early days it worked for iTunes / iPod.

I suppose Microsoft will wait and see how the subscription plan goes in the following months and decide. Would you buy a flash Zune for free with a 1 year unlimited tracks subscription plan ?

Related articles:
Pink Zune & another vibrant color release
The vibrant color is Watermelon Red Zune
Toshiba U: The new Zune flash player?

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 April 2007 )
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