Creative has turned to the cashback deal in order to try and steal a march in the neverending chase after Apple's iPods.

The new Zen Micro 4GB MP3 player will effectively debut at $179.99 after a $20 cashback voucher is sent back to Creative. For people wanting more space, the Zen Micro 5-gig is $229.99, and 6Gb version will cost $249.99.

It's an interesting strategy, as long as people were prepared to pay $50/$30 for an extra gigabyte, if they didn't want 6Gb straight away, and also as long as the price of the 5Gb model isn't cut to $199 too soon. That said, we stand corrected if the cashback deal extends throughout the range, available in ten different colours and brazenly chasing the iPod mini market- perhaps hoping to catch floating buyer who hits another Apple stock shortage.

Ultimately, the decision may be taken by the drive manufacturers to simply standardise at 10Gb in the future- storage sizes only ever go up (along with unit price, naturally). Until that time however, music fans not wanting to rip their entire collection now have an expanded range of choices.

It's good to see rivals responding quickly to Apple's price cutting, though Creative has its existing and speaker soundcard businesses to offset any losses, while Apple has its existing computers. Ahead of CeBit however, we'll see who else steps into this price war and whether anyone breaks the 6Gb barrier for a decent price.