Can a price cut, TV ad give Zune a lift?

This holiday season, if you can't afford an iPod, will you consider a Zune?Microsoft is announcing a price cut today to its flash-based Zune models: $99 for the 4GB model, $139 for the 8GB version and $179 for the 16GB player.

This holiday season, if you can't afford an iPod, will you consider a Zune?

Microsoft is announcing a price cut today to its flash-based Zune models: $99 for the 4GB model, $139 for the 8GB version and $179 for the 16GB player. That prices the devices less than the iPod Nano, though Microsoft said that wasn't the reasoning behind the cuts. Zune marketing director Adam Sohn told CNET this week that the cuts "take into consideration what the realities of the market are" and are times to ""ensure hopefully we have a good holiday season."

Zune

In addition, the company has kicked off a TV ad campaign designed to get people to download the new Zune software, even if they haven't yet picked up a Zune player. It sounds a lot like what Apple did way back when with the iTunes software. Initially, iTunes was part of the iLife software package. But as iPod sales continued to grow and an online music store was added, the software was offered for free to anyone who wanted it and taken out of the iLife portfolio.

It may be a bit late for Microsoft to follow Apple's lead - but I suppose it's worth a try. And who knows? Maybe in this cost-conscious climate, a price cut and free software could be enough to convince some shoppers to give the Zune a try.