While it seemed that all the world’s eyes were on Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and its new iPod offerings, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) sought to capture some residual attention by unleashing its own barrage of news related to its own media player, its suite of online services, and its challenge to Adobe’s Flash online video system:
— Zune Now Costs $50 Less: Zune is seemingly cursed to live forever in the shadow of the iPod. But today, news of a $50 price cut for Microsoft’s 30-GB music player was dwarfed by Apple’s $200 reduction of the iPhone’s price. Microsoft released the information a few hours before. Aside from a vain attempt to steal a little of Apple’s thunder, Microsoft hopes that the lower price will spur more sales, though it did meet its target of selling 1 million Zunes before the end of June.
— Windows Live Unveiled: Aside from its Apple rivalry, Microsoft also has Google in its sights. With that in mind, the software maker debuted a beta version of its Windows Live suite of online services on Tuesday. The package, available in a single download, includes e-mail, IMs, photo gallery, blogging toois and security features. Over the next few months, the company plans to offer more integrated features, while on the horizon, Google is working on a single set of e-mail, calendar, productivity software application of its own.
— Silverlight Video Player Set To Match Adobe’s Flash: A number of online video sites, from the web homes of Entertainment Tonight to the World Wrestling Entertainment, have agreed to try out Microsoft’s Silverlight video player, which the company is positioning as an alternative to Adobe’s long-dominant Flash player. ET said it will use Silverlight for segments that don’t appear on the show’s TV version. And while sites like YouTube will continue to use Flash, Microsoft hopes some early converts, like the WWE, which plans to fully use the plug-in later this year, can convince others. At the moment, WWE has been encouraging visitors to its site to download Silverlight through its “teaser” video feature.