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Zune to use Microsoft Points

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the pricing and release date for the first of its Zune MP3 players. Set to hit stores on November 14--three days ahead of the PlayStation 3 and five prior to the Wii launch--the 30GB player will cost $249.99, in line with Apple's 30GB iPod.

Zune will also use Xbox Live Marketplace's currency.

However, unlike Apple's iTunes Music Store, the Zune Marketplace won't just deal in real-world coin. It will use a virtual currency well known to Xbox 360 owners--Microsoft Points. According to the software giant, "Users can purchase songs individually using Microsoft Points for 79 points per track." As anyone who's ponied up for a new set of nonrefundable premium gamer pictures knows, that 80 points comes to about $0.99--the same per-song cost as iTunes.

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