Microsoft's Band 2 has returned to its full price of $249.99 in the US. So... why is that news? 'Product sells at normal price' doesn't seem like headline grabbing stuff.
The answer to that question is simple - it's becoming increasingly rare for Microsoft to sell the Band 2 without a discount.
The most recent 'special offer' on the health-and fitness-focused wearable device began at the end of May, cutting 30% off its price for the fourth time in just two months. That deal was originally due to end on July 9, but Microsoft quietly extended it for a further three weeks, ending yesterday, July 31.
In fact, since the first time Microsoft cut 30% off the Band 2 on March 19, reducing its price to $174.99, the company has sold the device with that discount for 107 out of the last 135 days, as shown in the infographic in this article.
When do special offers stop being 'special'? That's obviously open to interpretation, but when a company has sold a product with almost a third off its full price for nearly 80% of the last few months, it starts to look a lot less like a series of deals, and more like a permanent price cut in all but name.
Microsoft has been stretching the definition of 'special offer' even further on its UK Store. The latest 'limited time' offer, cutting 25% off the Band 2's £199.99 price, was due to end on June 30 - but Microsoft extended it by a further three months. When it ends - or rather, if it ends - on September 30, it will have been running continuously for over five months.
Of course, all these discounts come amid rumors that Microsoft is preparing to launch a new version of the Band this fall. Heavy price reductions will help to reduce stocks ahead of the new model's arrival, and by avoiding 'price cut' terminology in favor of presenting these reductions as 'special offers', Microsoft can avoid giving buyers the impression that it's clearing stock of a product that's soon to be superseded by an updated version.
Portraying the discounts as 'special' or 'limited time' promotions may well encourage buyers to get their credit cards out more readily, in the belief that they're getting a deal that won't be available for long, despite Microsoft regularly extending these discounts for weeks or months beyond the dates on which it says they will end.
Given the frequency of discounts on the Band 2, it would be unwise to pay the full $249.99 price on the Microsoft Store; as the last few months have shown, it probably won't be very long until Microsoft cuts its price again in yet another deal. And if you can't wait, then shop around for better prices - Amazon, for example, is currently selling the Band 2 for as little as $140.