Microsoft’s Zune player to cost $249.99

Yahoo: Microsoft’s Zune music player looks a lot like an iPod, acts a lot like an iPod and will cost about the same as an iPod. The software giant said Thursday that it will charge $249.99 for the device, signaling that it isn’t planning to spark a major price war to gain market share.

Instead, the company is hoping to gain an edge by touting two features Apple Computer Inc. doesn’t offer on its iPod: a subscription music service, and the ability to share music with other Zune users through a wireless connection. The other users can then listen to the songs three times over three days before deciding whether to buy the tune themselves.

The Zune player, to be made by Toshiba, will have 30 gigabytes of memory, enough to hold about 7,500 songs.It also will feature a 3-inch screen and a built-in FM transmitter, and will come loaded with about 25 songs and other content. The rectangular device has a simple look and feel similar to the iPod.

An iPod with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and a 2.5-inch screen sells for $249. Apple also offers lower- and higher-priced versions.

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