Microsoft took another swipe at the iPod this week with the launch of the latest version of the Zune media player. After three years and untold millions spent on the line, Microsoft's hopes of cutting into the iPod's big lead are now, with its 3.3-inch multitouch screen, streaming-music feature, and the ability to play back video, with the help of an HDTV, in 720p. A 16GB Zune HD is available at retailers for $219.99, and a 32GB version will cost $289.99.
But at this point in Zune's evolution there's plenty of skepticism about whether Microsoft and its media player can close the gap on Apple. A Zune-iPod comparison has for too long resembled a late-round prize fight, the kind where the challenger is cut, swollen-eyed and wobbly legged but refuses to go to the canvas. Zune sales are falling, a top manager has moved on, and what's perhaps most worrisome is that the category is becoming passe.
Google goes public with its side of the story, telling the FCC that Apple rejected the voice app it said it was still reviewing.
The two tech titans reshuffle their top ranks, with chip bigwig Pat Gelsinger headed from Intel to storage specialist EMC.
Microsoft launches a "technology preview" for the online versions of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, but users still can't edit their Word docs.
Five states join opposition to the settlement on the grounds that states, rather than the Books Rights Registry, should be entitled to unclaimed proceeds.
Unauthorized ad warns readers that their computer may be infected with a virus and redirects them to a site that purports to offer antivirus software.
A new service from Vivox will make it possible for any Facebook user to have a voice conversation with anyone else on the social network.
The company achieved a cash flow-positive status for the first time last quarter, a post by CEO Mark Zuckerberg read.
Scientists testifying at a Senate subcommittee and attending a conference on cell phones and health this week say the FCC needs to change safety guidelines for cell phones.
At TechCrunch50, Microsoft shows off a new way to skin a search. It uses thumbnail images that match queries. Not bad.
There weren't a lot of companies launching at the annual conference that promised something never-before-seen new. But this should be taken as a sign of industry maturation, not a dearth of ideas.
Full TechCrunch50 coverage
Also of note