updated 11:40 am EST, Mon February 4, 2008
Zune 8 Price Cut to 179
Microsoft has quietly dropped the price of its Zune 8 flash music player to $180 in a bid to gain marketshare, according to reports as well as checks with several major online retailers. Though unannounced by the company, the $20 drop makes the device one of the least expensive of the class at its regular price and undercuts the same-capacity iPod nano's $200 price. No features appear to have been cut from the 8GB Zune, which shares the same Wi-Fi sharing and sync features of the rest of the line and whose 240x320 screen is as sharp as for the larger-screened Zune 80.
No explanations have been given for the reasons behind the drop, which occurs just three months after the release of the Zune 8 in November and misses the key January timeframe for price discounts. It also comes far earlier than for the first-generation Zune 30, which dropped to $200 just days ahead of this fall's iPod refresh.
Notably, Microsoft has remained silent about sales of the Zune line since it crossed the million-unit mark in June and did not break out statistics for Zune sales during its end of 2007 quarterly results, which touted the Entertainment division's performance but centered almost exclusively on the Xbox 360. Research group NPD has noted that most music players saw a sales decline during the holidays with the exception of the iPod line.