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Week in review: Microsoft making moves

Tech titan unveils new Zune and revamped search strategy. Also, CNET visits Google's I/O conference and the D7: All Things D conference.

During a busy week of high-profile tech conferences, Microsoft delivered a double shot to steal the media spotlight.

Microsoft announced its plans to take on the iPod Touch with a new, touch-screen Zune that will be able to surf the Web, play high-definition movies, and tune in to digital radio. The Zune HD, which will be available in the U.S. only starting this fall, features an HD Radio tuner as well as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Microsoft said. It is based on Windows CE and will use a version of Internet Explorer customized for its touch screen, Microsoft said.

The software maker did not announce pricing or capacity, though it said the device will use flash memory and attempt to take on Apple's high-end iPod models.

The software maker also said that at next week's E3 trade show in Los Angeles it will announce details on a new Zune-branded video service for the Xbox that will replace the current Xbox Live marketplace for TV and movies. The company didn't announce details or specifically say that content will be playable on both Zunes and the Xbox.

Microsoft also took the wraps off Bing, the rebranded and rebuilt search engine formerly code-named Kumo, designed to replace Live Search.

Bing isn't available to the public yet, but you won't have to wait long. Starting on June 1, some users will get Bing search results from Live Search. On June 3, we're told, Bing will be Microsoft's new default search. We got early access to the service. Here's how it looks.

Crave editor Rafe Needleman found it to be a solid improvement over the previous search product, and said it that beats Google in important areas. It's surprisingly competitive with Google, according to Rafe, who also said it will help Microsoft gain share in the search business.

CNET News' Ina Fried has a report on how this all came about, including a profile on Brian MacDonald, the creator of Microsoft Project and Microsoft Outlook, who came out of retirement to help redesign the user interface for Microsoft's search engine.

More headlines

Gmail in real-time: Google does the Wave

Google unveils an ambitious project to create what it calls 'the e-mail of the future,' and the reactions of developers at Google I/O will be telling.
• Google Wave has developers buzzing • Google shows Native Client built into HTML 5 • Google's 'Idol'-like Android challenge
• Google: The browser is the computer

D7 puts tech on the hot seat

Hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the D: All Things Digital conference brings out some of the biggest names in the online business.
• Ballmer on Bing, the economy and more
• Yahoo's Bartz willing to sell search
• Twitter co-founders on their business model
• Yahoo CEO still breaking down silos
• Cuban: Internet video progress 'disappointing'
• MySpace CEO: We need to innovate faster
• RIM CEO: We were pulled into the consumer market
• Liberty Media CEO on future of television
• NBC's Zucker: 'Seinfeld' wouldn't make it today

Facebook gets $200 million from European firm

Social networking investment group Digital Sky Technologies puts $200 million into Facebook in exchange for a nearly 2 percent stake, but no seat on the board.
• Facebook investment puts spotlight on Microsoft stake
• Why Facebook needs DST in Russia
•  Facebook announces FBFund winners

Apple updates the low-end MacBook

Company adds a faster processor and a larger hard drive to the low-end notebook, while keeping the price at $999.
•  Apple offers students free iPod Touch with Mac purchase

Also of note
•  Time Warner to spin off AOL
•  U2 manager: 'Ultimately free is the enemy of good'
•  How technology lifts Pixar's 'Up'