Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace will sell individual songs for Windows PCs and Zune digital media players “through a system called Microsoft Points. The new Microsoft cash system will work by adding money to an account, as with a prepaid phone card. Points will then be deducted from the account with each purchase. A single song will cost 79 points, ‘the equivalent of 99 cents,’ according to Microsoft spokeswoman Kyrsa Dixon,” Candace Lombardi reported in late September for CNET News.
Lombardi reported, “The point system is already used in the Xbox Live Marketplace, and Microsoft plans to host other online stores where Microsoft points can be redeemed, according to Katy Gentes, product marketing manager for Zune. In the United States, points are available in denominations of $5 for 400 points, $15 for 1,200, $25 for 2,000 and $50 for 4,000. That makes $1 worth about 80 points.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Several MacDailyNews readers have suggested that we do the math, so here’s the deal:
• 79 Microsoft Points equals 99-cents or one song.
• The smallest amount of Microsoft Points available for purchase is $5.00 or 400 points.
• Each Microsoft Point is worth 1.25-cents.
• So, you give Microsoft your $5 and buy your 5 songs. That’s 395 total points. Microsoft has your 5 points or 6.25-cents “left over.”
• Say you want an album’s worth, or 10 songs? You give Microsoft $10 for 800 points and buy 10 songs for 790 points. Microsoft has your 10 points or 12.5-cents “left over.”
• See where we’re headed? Microsoft is taking money from their pigeons, er… “customers” and placing it in an interest-bearing account to earn themselves more money on their generous customers’ interest-free “loans.”
• Now, if you don’t wish to give Microsoft your money to use for free to generate interest income for Microsoft, you need to figure out exactly how many 79-point songs to buy, so that no points are left over. The magic formula to avoid giving Microsoft a free loan is 79 points x 400 (smallest denomination available for purchase) = 31,600 points or 400 songs at 79 points each. Total cost: US$395. Not very practical, is it?
So, the real point is clear: Microsoft’s “points” are designed to confuse consumers and generate interest income from “left over” amounts. Now you know exactly why “1 Microsoft Point” doesn’t equal “1 U.S. Cent.” Boy, if Microsoft can dupe enough people into this Microsoft Points scheme, those “left overs” will really add up.
To buy even a single 99-cent song from the Zune store, you have to purchase blocks of “points” from Microsoft, in increments of at least $5. You can’t just click and have the 99 cents deducted from a credit card, as you can with iTunes. You must first add points to your account, then buy songs with these points. So, even if you are buying only one song, you have to allow Microsoft, one of the world’s richest companies, to hold on to at least $4.01 of your money until you buy another. And the point system is deceptive. Songs are priced at 79 points, which some people might think means 79 cents. But 79 points actually cost 99 cents. – Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal, November 09, 2006
In stark contrast to Microsoft, Apple charges real currency. You buy a song from the U.S. iTunes Store for 99-cents, you pay 99-cents. You can buy one just one song, if you like, and you’ll be charged 99-cents. No left overs. No formulas. No “points” scheme. Just a single, simple, straight-up, honest transaction.