Zune Goes Discount, Contributes to $289 Million Loss for Microsoft

here at the Gear, and there are good reasons for that. When the largest technology company in the country (world?) decides to go head-to-head with the de facto variant of the MP3 player, we have to report on that. When said company utilizes innovations (no matter how emasculated) like built-in WiFi, we report on that, too. We like the Zune—especially Blake, but you all know he’s a PC fanboy.

Sadly, we have to report that the brown brick cost Microsoft $289 million last quarter, hardly the numbers the company was hoping to post at this time. While we’re assured from our internal sources that the next rendition of the Zune (it’s not the Zune II) will address many of the shortcomings of the current model, and that the group has a roadmap to profitability in the works.

That’s good news, as over the weekend we stopped by our local overstock and discount store in Seattle and were shocked—shocked!—to find a stack of nearly a dozen brand-new, unopened Zunes selling at $168. That’s about 25% off the going rate of $229 we’ve been seeing around ze Web, making it a good deal for someone looking for a Zune.

The question is, however: Is there actually anyone looking for a Zune? Or did everyone who wanted one get one? Or are these simply a few units that fell through the cracks into a ghetto scratch-and-ding store? The numbers above mean these could all be possibilities.

What do you all think?

Microsoft’s Q2 Profit Falls 28% [Globe and Mail]