Crazy Zune Marketplace pricing scheme

Crazy Zune Marketplace pricing scheme

Summary: One of the key selling points of the iPod (I'd go as far as to say that it's the unique selling point) is that the iTunes store is easy to use. In fact, it's very simple to use. I'd hoped that Microsoft would follow suit with the Zune Marketplace. It didn't.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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One of the key selling points of the iPod (I'd go as far as to say that it's the unique selling point) is that the iTunes store is easy to use.  In fact, it's very simple to use.  I'd hoped that Microsoft would follow suit with the Zune Marketplace.  It didn't.

Apple Matters takes a look at how the Zune Marketplace works and here's how they summarize the process:

The 5 Step Plan To Fill Your Zune With Legal Music
1. Create a free Zune account
2. Register a valid credit card
3. Buy “points” from MS
4. Scratch your head as you try to figure out why you need to buy “points” to buy songs. Why can’t you just use standard American currency? Doesn’t Microsoft accept the Dollar anymore? 5. Say “screw it” and go buy an iPod

[poll id=23]

The Zune points system works as follows:

$5 = 400 points
$15 = 1200 points
$25 = 2000 points
$50 = 4000 points

For those just wanting to buy a few tracks, it's going to be an pain in the rearThis means that a Zune Point is worth 1.25 cents and a track is priced at 79 Zune points costing 98.75 cents (so ultimately it is cheaper than the iTunes store ;-).  So you have to pay up $5 before you can buy a single song.  From Microsoft's point of view, that's a good thing because it means that people keep on coming back, but from the point of view of the customer it means giving Microsoft a minimum of $5 for a single purchase.

The points system is also a clever way of hiding the real price of the tunes.  It'll be easier for Microsoft to add one point to the cost of a tune that it will be for Apple to add a single cent to the price, even though both would take the price of a track up to the $1 psychological barrier. (Which sounds cheaper to you - 79 Zune Points or 99 cents?  80 Zune points or $1?).  It also means that you almost always end up with spare points, spare points that you won't want to waste.

Microsoft's reason for using points is that they can also be used at both the Zune Marketplace and the Xbox Live Marketplace.  That might be good for Xbox Live Marketplace users but for those just wanting to buy a few tracks, it's going to be an pain in the rear.

Topic: Microsoft

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77 comments
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  • What a shock!!

    Yet another Apple site that feels it must resort to trashing the [b]competition[/b]. You'd think Apple zealots weren't quite sure of their superiority with the amount of negative shilling they do! It only takes a couple minutes on Apple's own website to realize they spend more time talking about Windows than they do about OSX!!

    [i]So you have to pay up $5 before you can buy a single song.[/i]

    I know. It's about as crazy as requiring someone to pay for a camera in an overpriced Apple laptop before you can buy the OS!! [i]But no, the Mac isn't more expensive because if you equite a Dell with a camera, they cost the same![/i] Using the same logic, if you force someone to buy 5 songs on iTunes, the 2 stores end up costing the same.

    [i]so ultimately it is cheaper than the iTunes store[/i]

    Oops, I guess iTunes truly is more expensive!!

    ...

    Cue the Mac zealots. :)
    NonZealot
    • Re:

      Hey Mr. Angry, try not to get so upset. Get used to it:
      Mikkkro$oft has and will always play second fiddle to its
      superior, Apple.
      green[
    • Re: What a Shock!!

      Interestingly enough you are wrong. 5 songs from
      Apple if that is all you purchase cost $4.95,
      while at Microsoft it is $5.00. Having to buy
      points before you know how much you want to spend
      is a bad model from a consumer standpoint. Sure
      Microsoft likes this model, so would just about
      anyone. But the purchasing of web currency has
      failed several times in the past, and while I
      doubt Microsoft's venture will be an utter
      failure because many people who use their
      products don't do enough research to realize
      there is an alternative, it will certainly not be
      as popular as it could be.

      I own an iPod but not a Mac, and while I have a
      mild interest in seeing a Zune, I would never buy
      one unless there were significant changes to it.
      I have bought a total of 10 songs on iTunes, most
      of my music is CDs I own.
      captmiddy
    • RE:What a shock

      Yes, the zune music store is slightly cheaper- about .25 cents cheaper than itunes music. However, contrary to what you say, itunes does not "force someone to buy 5 songs on iTunes." You can buy them one at a time, if you wish, whereas with the points system, you will always have extra money left over that is wasted, unless you continue to buy. Although it is only fractions of a penny, in the long run it ads up (like that scheme in Office Space). That is how the greedy microsoft corp gets you.
      djohnson10
    • Wow, still pushing that meaningless comparison

      The only thing worse than an Apple-Zealot is his incredibly annoying cousin, the Anti-Apple-Zealot-Zealot. Tell me, how much time do you spend talking about Apple so we can compare you to a normal Windows user.

      ---It's about as crazy as requiring someone to pay for a camera in an overpriced Apple laptop before you can buy the OS!!---

      Wrong. You can buy the OS as a standalone, much cheaper than Vista, by the way. And I own several Macs, none of which have cameras in them.

      ---Oops, I guess iTunes truly is more expensive!!---

      Yes, after you've bought 99 songs, you start saving money. Until then, you're paying more at Zune, or at the very least, you've tied up your cash where you can't use it elsewhere. Apple may sell you over-equipped computers (in your opinion) but at least they're actually selling you something for that money, rather than just forcing you to let them hang on to your money for a while and giving you nothing in return.
      tic swayback
      • Nice one tic

        "The only thing worse than an Apple-Zealot is his incredibly annoying cousin, the Anti-Apple-Zealot-Zealot."

        Glad I didn't stop reading yet another MS vs Apple vs the world set of rants before seeing that comment. Made my day!
        ovidtchr
      • Wrong, wrong, and more wrong!

        [i]You can buy the OS as a standalone, much cheaper than Vista,[/i]

        Hmm, last I checked, $99 for standalone Vista is cheaper than $129 for standalone OSX. Oops!

        [i]Until then, you're paying more at Zune, or at the very least, you've tied up your cash where you can't use it elsewhere.[/i]

        Yup, just like paying for hardware you don't want or need in a Mac. Thanks for admitting, again, that Macs are more expensive and difficult to buy!

        PS Anyone want to buy 5 wireless cards and 5 copies of OSX? I was forced to pay for them in my Macs but I don't want or need them and Apple won't give me a refund. Anyone? Hello? Oh... you were all also forced to pay for this so Apple can hold on to your money and make interest from it? Understood. Man, it sucks to be an Apple customer. :(
        NonZealot
        • Last I checked...

          It was $99 for an upgrade of Vista, and alot more for a retail of Vista.

          An upgrade is not a "stand-a-lone" version. You know.. Since you need a previous version to use it.
          ju1ce
          • Excellent!!

            [i]An upgrade is not a "stand-a-lone" version. You know.. Since you need a previous version to use it.[/i]

            Now you need to show me how I can buy a Mac without a MacOS on it. Otherwise, off-the-shelf versions of OSX are upgrades. If you can't, then you admit that you need to pay for a previous version of MacOS in order to use an off-the-shelf version of OSX. I'm waiting!
            NonZealot
          • Not true

            I can wipe my Mac and install Linux on it. It now does not contain OSX. Then I can buy a retail copy of OSX for $129 (list) and install it on that computer.

            If I have a PC with Linux on it and no copy of Windows, can I buy a $99 version of Vista and install it?

            Why do you seem so proud of getting less for your money?
            tic swayback
          • Um, yes, it is true!

            [i]If I have a PC with Linux on it and no copy of Windows, can I buy a $99 version of Vista and install it?[/i]

            Done it many times! Might want to read up on the competition before making outrageous claims like this.
            NonZealot
          • Clarification

            [i][b]can I buy a $99 version of Vista and install it?[/b]

            Done it many times![/i]

            I should clarify that I've never done it with Vista itself since Vista isn't on the shelves yet. However, I've installed an XP Pro upgrade several times on a computer or hard-drive that has never, ever had any OS on it. Since the licensing terms in this aspect are identical, the answer to your question is still yes, you can install the $99 Vista upgrade on a computer or hard drive that has never, ever, even once, has an OS on it.
            NonZealot
          • Sorry, should have been more precise

            Can you install that upgrade $99 version of Vista/XP/2000 without at least a serial number or proof of ownership of another copy of Windows?

            I need nothing to install my boxed copy of OSX. In fact, I can break the law and install it on multiple machines!
            tic swayback
          • Impressive...

            Clean computer or not.. Buying a computer with an O/S or not.

            Installing an upgrade (without a hack, let's go with "LEGITIMATE USERS") requires a previous version of Windows. Plain and simple.

            http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/upgrading/matrix.mspx
            http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home/upgrading/matrix.mspx

            http://www.amazon.ca/o/ASIN/B00022PTT8/702-0130342-6380854?SubscriptionId=09FVDRT8TEJ64C2A7Y02
            http://www.amazon.ca/Microsoft-Windows-XP-Professional-Upgrade/dp/B00005MOTG
            http://www.windowsmarketplace.ca/prices.aspx?ItemId=34715

            http://shopper.cnet.com/Microsoft_Windows_XP_Home_Edition_Upgrade/4014-3672_9-6534886.html

            Just incase you forgot... And the list can go on and on..

            Windows XP Home vs OSX (I'm not a Mac user but even I know that OSX has more features than Windows XP). And for 30 dollars more for that upgrade.. I'd choose OSX because it's worth more for the dollar than HOME is. For someone like yourself who's concerned about buying things you don't want.. Then hopefully you don't have professional anywhere because after all... 3/4's of the stuff on it you don't require. So sticking with the limited home edition is a good addition to your Windows needs.

            For 199 I can get 5 upgrade licenses vs 99 per license of Windows XP upgrade. So far I get more value from Mac.

            By the way, I'm NEGATING the Games/Applications. I'm strictly basing that last paragraph on an O/S to O/S comparison. Since in this instance we're talking about strictly O/S. Although I'm sure you'll bring that in. :P
            ju1ce
          • tic, you need proof too

            [i]Can you install that upgrade $99 version of Vista/XP/2000 without at least a serial number or proof of ownership of another copy of Windows?[/i]

            No, but you can't install an OSX upgrade without proof of a full licensed copy of a MacOS. That proof was first having a computer with the right PPC architecture, now it is the TPM. If you can't provide one of those 2 proofs of a MacOS license, you can't install OSX, no exceptions. In Apple's case, the only difference is that the original MacOS license is tied to the machine. Since MS can't guarentee that 100% of Windows compatible hardware came with a licensed copy of Windows, they are forced to use another method of validating OS upgrades.

            [i]In fact, I can break the law and install it on multiple machines![/i]

            I expect far better from you. I can break the law too and pirate XP for free. Yawn.
            NonZealot
          • Now you're just getting silly

            Oh, to install OSX, I need to have a machine capable of running OSX? Ooooh, bad, bad, mean Apple!
            tic swayback
          • It's you who is being silly

            [i]Oh, to install OSX, I need to have a machine capable of running OSX?[/i]

            Again you are incapable of showing how you can possibly install OSX on a machine that has never had the full OSX license paid on it. Your example of wiping OSX off the machine, installing Linux, and then reinstalling OSX was poor because, while you wiped OSX, you didn't wipe the license. You seem to be easily confused between a license to run OSX and OSX itself. If there was no difference, the ABMers wouldn't be so upset that MS used to be paid a licensing fee on machines that didn't have Windows on it. The machine may not have had Windows on it, but it was still licensed.

            Apple's proof of license is far more solid than MS's (what better proof is there than tieing the license to the hardware requirements?!), but to get that solid proof, they had to impose onerous requirements on their customers. No thanks!
            NonZealot
          • Sorry, no, you are wrong

            The boxed version of OSX requires NO proof of ownership of previous versions of the OS. Please provide documentation of anything in Apple's terms of service that show this.

            Here's a quick scenario for you:
            I buy a used computer. The previous owner has wiped the hard drive and installed Linux. The used computer comes with no discs, no documentation whatsoever. The seller discounts the price because it does not contain a commercial OS.

            Now that I own that computer I want to go to the store and buy a commercial OS to install. I can buy the boxed version of OSX for around $100 and install it. Can I buy the "upgrade" version of Windows and install it?
            tic swayback
          • Yes true

            [i]The boxed version of OSX requires NO proof of ownership of previous versions of the OS. Please provide documentation of anything in Apple's terms of service that show this.[/i]

            If you are correct and there is nothing in Apple's terms of service that require proof of previous ownership, then I should be able to buy OSX and install it on my P4. What? I can't because I don't have TPM? Get it through your head tic, TPM [b]is[/b] your proof of having an OSX license. It is built right into the machine. Are you going to tell me that there isn't anything in Apple's terms of service that prevents me from circumventing OSX's TPM validation? If there isn't, I'm a buyin' me OSX and legally installing it on my P4!!

            [i]The seller discounts the price because it does not contain a commercial OS.[/i]

            Again, you are getting confused between the OS and the license for that OS. A better comparison would be: if I sold you a Mac but I first removed (or destroyed) the TPM, could you still install OSX on that machine? NOPE! Could I install an upgrade of Vista on it? Yup, as long as I had a license for some previous version of Windows. If the used Mac comes with a TPM chip then the equivalent sale of a used PC would also have to come with a license for Windows.
            NonZealot
          • Again, you're confusing licenses with hardware requirements

            Sorry, this line of argument just isn't going to fly.

            --- TPM is your proof of having an OSX license.---

            No, it's not. Go back to my previous example. The person selling me the wiped Mac now running Linux has decided to keep their own licensed copy of OSX that originally came with the machine. He has kept the install discs and has already installed it onto another Mac. Therefore, I do not receive any previously licensed copy of the OS.

            Your argument states that since OSX requires a particular hardware arrangement, that this is the same as a legal license, and that is not true. If you buy a washing machine, you still can't install OSX on that either.

            --- A better comparison would be: if I sold you a Mac but I first removed (or destroyed) the TPM, could you still install OSX on that machine?---

            Nope, a better comparison is being sold the Mac, but the seller retains his own licensed copy of OSX.
            tic swayback