Microsoft Paring Zune Line Down To Touchscreen HD

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is betting the pot on the soon-to-launch Zune HD—at least when it comes its own devices. Paul Thurott reports that the company will be dropping the flash Zunes and its high-storage Zune 80 and 120 models for the new touchscreen models that go on sale Sept. 15. In addition to a slicker interface, the Zune HD also features HD Radio, full web browsing and, if you buy the right $90 accessory, HD video output. A little surprising with the emphasis on HD that the line so far is missing the larger capacity models.

Microsoft has been particularly adept at keeping a variety of Zune models in play, both through sales and software updates. I’ve got a query in about what the company will do now with updates for the existing models. (We have four in the household dating back to the original Zune 30 (yes, it’s brown) so not an idle question.)


Industry Moves: Arora To Head Google’s Online Sales; Fischer Takes Sabbatical

David Fischer, Google’s VP for Global Online Sales & Operations, is starting a sabbatical at the end of this month and will return in January to work on developing the search giant’s other businesses, including Geo, Local and Check-Out, Business Insider reported. Instead of replacing him, Nikesh Arora, Google’s president of global sales operations and business development, says in a staff memo that he will lead the business. least on an interim basis. The move comes amid a wide exodus of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) ad sales execs over the past several months. A number have followed Tim Armstrong to AOL (NYSE: TWX), including Erin Clift, who departed as Google’s North American director of agency relations in June.


Charlie Gibson’s Announcement E-Mail: “I Love This News Department…To The Depths Of My Soul”

Below is the text of the e-mail Charlie Gibson sent to colleagues at ABC's "World News" announcing his departure from the program. He will retire in January, and Diane Sawyer will succeed him.

I have always been taught you should never bury the lead - so I write to tell you that I have told David Westin I want to step down as anchor of World News, and retire from full time employment at ABC News.

It has not been an easy decision to make. This has been my professional home for almost 35 years. And I love this news department, and all who work in it, to the depths of my soul.

I have received much comment, and quite a few emails and letters referring to the signoff Eddie Pinder convinced me to use - wishing that everyone has had a good day. But the proudest part for me has been saying "...for all of us at ABC News...", since those words signify in my mind that I have been in a position to speak for an entire news department that I consider second to none.

It had been my intention to step down from my job at Good Morning America in 2007 but with Peter's illness, Bob's injuries, and Elizabeth's pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006, and David asked me to step in as anchor. It was an honor to do so. The program is now operating at a very accelerated, but steady, cruising speed, and I think it is an opportune time for a transition - both for the broadcast and for me. Life is dynamic; it is not static.

I have told David I would like to continue in some capacity contributing occasionally to ABC News. He has been receptive to the idea - and we will be discussing what that role might be.

Most importantly, my heart is full of gratitude for those with whom I have had the privilege to work as a correspondent, as a host at Good Morning America, at Special Events, and now as anchor at World News.

I'll be anchoring World News through December and will have a chance to thank many of you personally. In the meantime let's get back to the news.

How To Keep Secrets

It’s no secret that many think America’s classification system is no longer up to the task of protecting the nation or its secrets. In late 2008, a Homeland Security advisory panel chaired by William Webster—the only person to ever run both the FBI and the CIA—described the classification system as “broken,” and recommended that the department’s incoming...