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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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November 14, 2008 8:24 AM

Microsoft news roundup: New exec in China; Microsoft Store launches online; Kirkland games startup

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

A few items to catch up on this morning:

China Executive. Microsoft has named Simon Leung corporate vice president, chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China Region (GCR). He replaces Tim Chen, who left in September 2007 to lead the NBA's business in the Greater China region. Leung, who comes to Microsoft from Motorola, where he was a senior exec in charge of the Asia Pacific region, will be responsible for "the development and implementation of an overall regional strategy across all businesses, addressing the needs of the markets as well as the goals and objectives of the company. He will also be responsible for creating synergy among the sales, marketing, R&D, legal, finance, services, and other operations that Microsoft has in Greater China." Leung will work with Ya-Qin Zhang, who will continue as corporate vice president and chairman of the China Research and Development Group. Zhang was also appointed vice chairman of Microsoft GCR. Check out this great profile of Zhang my colleague Kristi Heim wrote this summer.

Microsoft Store. Senior program manager Trevin Chow blogs about the launch of a new online Microsoft Store in the U.S. "Our customers in the U.S. are able to buy first-party software and hardware directly from Microsoft offered in a comprehensive online catalog. On our store, you'll find products from many categories, ranging from Office 2007 Home and Student and Zoo Tycoon 2 to Xbox 360 Wireless Controllers and the new Zune with that cool Buy from FM feature."

In another sign that packaged software is on the wane, Chow points out that the store offers electronic distribution (downloads) of many of the Microsoft products for sale. There are several advantages, he says. "[I]n a world where lighter weight laptops, such as netbooks, are becoming more common, [electronic software distribution] makes things easier when an optical drive isn't easily accessible."

New game venture. My colleague Brier Dudley reported earlier this week on a games startup by a former Microsoft exec. Sabi, started by Margaret Johnson, is licensing technology from Microsoft Research for a children's game.

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