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by Mike Zazaian September 19, 2006 - 5:29pm, 2 Comments

Walmart slips up by posting the price for Zune

A Walmart slip-up the other day leaked the price for Microsoft’s upcoming Zune at $284, a price point likely set before Apple slashed its 30GB iPod by $50.

The price of $284 appeared briefly on a sales page for Microsoft’s Zune portable media player before being immediately taken down. As most of Walmart’s portable media players are priced about 5% - 10% below MSRP, it’s a safe assumption that the Zune will retail for $299 when it hits shelves this holdiay season. Exact release dates and availability for the Zune are yet to be released.

Of course, if these assumptions are correct, it’s possible that Microsoft’s aim for the Zune was to compete head-on with Apple’s 30GB iPod at a $299 price point. However, Apple has since rained on Microsoft’s parade when it slashed the price of its 30GB iPod to $249 at Steve Jobs’ September 12th Showtime Keynote in San Francisco. Whereas the Zune may have had some sporting chance to claim some decent market share against the $299 iPod, at a $50 premium it might be difficult to convince buyers to spring for a product that is less popular and doesn’t have five years of maturity under its belt. Jobs also unveiled an 80GB iPod at the Keynote which will hit shelves at $349, only $50 more for a product that holds substantially more than the Zune’s 30GB micro drive.

Zune pricing is all speculation at this point, as the $284 posted by Walmart is in no way set in stone. But if it were true, and the Zune costs $50 more than an equivalent iPod, it could be a long, dark holiday season for Microsoft’s initial foray into the personal media player market.

[via ars technica]