Free Zune? Not just yet

Reports appear to be premature at best

Microsoft

While Microsoft may one day consider offering a subsidized Zune for those who commit to a monthly music subscription, reports that such a plan is in the works appear to be premature, at best.

Zune marketing director Jason Reindorp, whose name was attached to the reports, said Friday that looking at the cell phone industry model is just one of many ideas Microsoft is looking at.

As others have pointed out, the current Zune is a bit pricey to be fully subsidized by a monthly subscription (without making the monthly fee exorbitant). A flash-memory based player, which some think will come in time for the holidays, could be a better bet for such a program.

Interestingly, while the iPod doesn't support subscription music, audio book service Audible.com has had a program where it offers users a discount on an iPod if they sign up for a long-term subscription.

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