On its Zune Insider blog yesterday Microsoft put out the news straightforwardly: Its Zune music player is getting a $50 price cut, from $249 to $199. The price cut starts today. The very same day that Apple is expected to introduce yet more Zune-crushing iPods at its media event in San Francisco -- but that's not the reason for the discount, MS says.
Microsoft says the cut is "part of the normal product lifecycle, something we've had on the books for months." Its statement added: "We just got some research back and customer satisfaction with the 30GB device is really high (around 94 percent) and we expect even more consumers will now want to discover the Zune experience at the new lower price."
At the Apple Store as of right now, you can buy a 30 GB iPod for $249. So, sure, now the Zune looks a bit better in comparison. But only now: In a few hours -- the Apple event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific -- the calculus will change.