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Consumer News: Early Estimates of iPad Mini Pricing

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Plus, Best Buy promises to price-match online competitors.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on consumer companies from around the Web.
Tech Crunch
Link: iPad Mini Pricing Framed in Light of Apple's Dedication to Margins
"Rumors around the iPad (NASDAQ:AAPL) mini are understandably reaching a fever pitch now that an announcement seems very likely for October 23, and a new one over the weekend claims to have a full breakdown of iPad mini unit pricing. While it seems unlikely that Apple would release pricing info to retail partners ahead of a new product launch, it isn't entirely unprecedented. But the real question is, how do the rumored prices stack up with Apple's famed commitment to high profit margins on device sales?"

The Consumerist
Link: Best Buy to Price-Match Online Competitors
"Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has already said that it intends on dropping its prices on BestBuy.com to better compete against Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other online retailers, but now comes word that the electronics chain plans on actually matching the prices of its online competitors at its bricks-and-mortar stores.

"It's all in an effort to curb the growing practice of showrooming, wherein customers pop into Best Buy to check out a product in person and then go online to buy it from someone else."

VentureBeat
Link: Microsoft Unveils Comprehensive Xbox Music Service, Including Free Streaming on Windows 8
"Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Zune music service and players utterly failed to steal market share from Apple's iTunes and iOS devices. But the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is trying again today with the unveiling of the Xbox Music service for Windows 8.

"With this new service, Microsoft has learned the lessons of Pandora (NYSE: P) and Spotify, which have gotten traction with their free music offerings. Microsoft will have a free version of streamed songs with Xbox Music, but it will also offer an offline-based premium subscription service for $9.95 a month. And you can purchase songs or albums a la carte."

GigaOm
Link: How the T-Mobile-MetroPCS Merger Affects You, the Consumer
"If all goes according to Deutsche Telekom's plan, T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) will become one some time in the second quarter of 2013. A lot has to happen between now and then: the MetroPCS board needs to vote and the FCC and US Department of Justice need to weigh in. But this is no AT&T-Mo.

"This deal purportedly makes a struggling nationwide operator more competitive, rather than eliminate a nationwide competitor from the market. This is the kind of merger regulators want to encourage. The other thing that could potential muck up the deal is a counter bid for MetroPCS from Sprint (NYSE:S). But so far the company has held off, and at the moment Sprint seems to have its hands full dealing with its own potential acquirer Softbank (TYO:9984)."

Bloomber Businessweek
Link: Retail Sales in US Climbed More Than Forecast in September
"Retail sales in the US rose more than projected in September, reflecting broad-based gains that indicate household spending helped bolster economic growth last quarter.

"The 1.1% advance followed a revised 1.2% increase in August that was the biggest since October 2010 and larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.8% rise."
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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