If you are in the market for an embroidery machine, consider this... the software. The big difference between the low end and high end machines aside from maximum hoop sizes, is the on board editing features. Admittedly the color touch screen makes laying out and tweaking patterns easy, but if the pattern is perfect before you start those features may not be so important. That is where the software comes in.
Every manufacturer offers their own version of embroidery software usually ranging in price and features, some are better than others. Your software needs just two things to start you on your embroidery career. A variety of fonts and a decent digitizing feature.
Brother's software package that has these features MSRPs at around $400. Now many of you that have gotten into embroidery may have paid closer to $1000 for your software, and Brother has that option too, but I don't think it is entirely necessary. The only thing that the high end software offers that the mid level may not is more robust image editing tools.
Now something to keep in mind is that machine embroidery is more a work of graphic design than it is sewing. Following that line of thinking, graphics design programs work great for embroidery. GIMP.NET, or PAINT.NET are free programs that have everything you need to manipulate images, and a heck of lot easier to work with than most embroidery software. Do your logo or graphic up in paint.net than "digitize" it with your embroidery software add lettering with built in fonts and you will have a decent finished product with software that cost half of what you should have spent.
This technique is also nice because you can play with paint.net at no cost and if you discover that graphics design is not really that much fun, you may want to reconsider your embroidery craving.
Feel free to disagree with me in the comments section, I am far from an embroidery wizard, that won't happen until next week.