Microsoft is going to make everyone that wants to buy music from their store use Microsoft points instead of cash, even though you have to register a credit card. And you can only buy points in $5 increments, which gets you 400 points. With songs going for 79 points, the cost ends up being the same as on iTunes. And if you buy $50 of points? 4000 points. No break whatsoever.
I have a number of issues with this.
- Buying points to buy music is an additional step I do not need
- Using an odd number like 79 points means you can’t easily use all your points, each person leaving just a little cash out there for Microsoft to hoard.
- If I want one song, I need to leave the rest on account
It would seem they are not serious about taking on the iPod with a scheme like this. Maybe you can manage your points easily on Microsoft Live, if you have it – but that extra step is a nuisance to most of us who just want to buy a song. I guess they figure that everyone will just believe that 79 points is better than $0.99, not realizing they are exactly the same thing. But it is the need to leave points out there that galls me. It’s just like gift cards. If you use it, you should be able to get cash as change, not a measly little amount of cash left on the card. Of course they do it figuring you will probably toss or lose the card with the little bit left, and they make even more. It seems dishonest, and I am not sure why Microsoft has chosen this path. The only other reason they would do this is that they have no desire to sell individual songs, but to push people toward the Zune Pass, a subscription service. That would mean they are all about recurring revenue and not customer experience. That doesn’t make me feel any better.