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Logitech releases three fine mice

The Microsoft rival debuts a new line of sleek, curvy computer mice with styling that's reminiscent of sports gear.

Logitech on Monday debuted a new line of sleek, curvy computer mice with styling reminiscent of sports gear.

The mouse motif matches new PCs from Gateway and Hewlett-Packard.

The new mice, the MX Series, come as Logitech looks to recapture its lead in retail market share for mice from technology giant Microsoft. The two companies are engaged in a battle for dominance in the category, where Logitech has held its ground against its larger rival, say analysts.

"Logitech has done a good job competing against Microsoft in the mouse category," said NPDTechworld's Stephen Baker. "The company has stayed flexible and kept current with new designs and features."

The entry-level MX300 mouse is a more traditionally shaped corded optical mouse, with dark gray and black styling. Like the other MX Series mice, the MX300's optical engine supports a resolution of 800 dots per inch. The 800 dpi--about twice of many other mice--reduces the amount of movement required for larger displays. The MX300 will retail for around $40.

The contour-shaped MX500, which costs $50, also is decked out in dark gray and black. Besides the scroll wheel typical of most modern mice, the MX500 features two thumb buttons for navigating Web pages.

The MX700 is nearly identical to the MX500, in terms of styling and features. But the MX700 is cordless and replaces silver for gray. It will sell for around $80.

The styling of the mice comfortably matches new Gateway PCs, including the Profile 4, and HP Presario consumer computers.

Logitech, in some ways, has already previewed the new sports styling. Last week, the Fremont, Calif.-based company released a new digital pen, whose motif is similar to that of the MX Series mice.

The new mice could give Logitech an important boost at retail. During the second quarter, the company fell behind Microsoft in retail market share, according to NPDTechworld. Microsoft had 31.1 percent market share, compared with Logitech's 24.8 percent. But during the four preceding quarters the two companies were even, each with about 30 percent market share.

Corded mice still dominate the category, with cordless models accounting for about 12 percent of the overall retail mouse market, according to NPDTechworld. But the category represented 27 percent of Logitech's mouse sales versus 8.5 percent for Microsoft.

The overall average retail selling price for mice was $23--$27 for Microsoft and $30 for Logitech during the second quarter. But cordless mice commanded much higher average selling prices: $46 overall--$48 for Logitech and $59 for Microsoft. Logitech's bigger share here coupled with the higher margins and profits on the cordless mice in some ways puts Logitech ahead of Microsoft, Baker said.

Earlier this month, Microsoft launched new mice and keyboards, in the single largest release of such peripherals in the company's history.