Microsoft's 2009 Holiday Sales Relying on Xbox, Windows 7, Beatles, Facebook

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Microsoft's 2009 Holiday Sales Relying on Xbox, Windows 7, Beatles, Facebook

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Robbie Bach of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division kicked off the New York event by explaining how the company's holiday strategy will consolidate around certain key product categories: mobile, Zune, the Xbox ecosystem and Windows 7.

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As part of its attempt to differentiate the Zune HD from its competitor, Apple's iPod Touch, Microsoft is offering distinctive etched back plates for the device, with a selection done by notable artists.

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The Zune HD features a 3.3-inch touch screen, as well as HD radio, a Wi-Fi connection, and a choice of 16GB or 32GB hard drives.

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The Zune HD can sync with an HDTV to display 720p video, courtesy of an HD AV dock (sold separately).

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"The Beatles: Rock Band," available for Xbox 360 and developed in conjunction with the Beatles' Apple Corps, allows players to pick up instruments and do their best imitation of Paul, John, George and Ringo.

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"The Beatles: Rock Band" includes 45 songs by the band, tracing them from humble beginnings to the psychedelic '60s.

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Windows Mobile 6.5 is Microsoft's attempt to regain market share in the smartphone space, and includes both business and consumer functionality. In addition to Mobile Office, which allows workers to edit Word or Excel documents on the road, Mobile 6.5 includes Facebook, MySpace and other social networking applications.

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The Sidewinder X8 Mouse is aimed squarely at the gaming market, with wireless functionality and multiple buttons. Microsoft claims lag-free play and a high frame rate, speed and acceleration.

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Microsoft is aiming to make its Xbox 360 an integral part of the living room, with plans to offer support for Last.FM, Twitter and Facebook starting this fall.

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Microsoft is hoping that the Oct. 22 release of Windows 7 will impel a massive tech refresh among consumers and businesses alike, who may use the new operating system as an opportunity to upgrade aging systems.

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The 2010 Ford Fusion includes Sync, a system designed by Microsoft that lets drivers access their MP3 players and phones by voice command; in the event of a crash, the system uses a preprogrammed cell phone connection to dial 911.

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The Ford Fusion's SmartGauge Cluster with EcoGuide offers real-time information on the efficiency of the hybrid's engine. Controls on the steering wheel allow the driver to cycle through information on fuel economy, fuel economy history, odometer and trip data.

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The LifeCam Cinema camera includes a 720p video sensor for HD widescreen video. It is also rather tiny.

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The two-piece Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000/Bluetooth Number Pad breaks the traditional keyboard into two pieces, supposedly to create a more portable device that can be taken along with a notebook or netbook.

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Microsoft has revamped its general mouse line, with new colors for the Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 (left) and the new Arc Mouse (right), which can snap into a more compact form and comes in six colors.

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