Microsoft's Bing, bold bets face payoff test

With the imminent launch of a new Windows mobile phone and an innovative motion sensor for the Xbox 360, this holiday season will be a crucible for Microsoft.

The software company already is the undisputed king of desk jockeys with Windows and Office, franchises that enjoyed successful launches in the past 12 months. However, the company this holiday will court app-loving hipsters with Windows Phone 7 and video gamers with the Kinect for Xbox.

On the eve of Microsoft's annual employee meeting Tuesday at Safeco Field, CEO Steve Ballmer sat down to talk about the coming phone war, how Microsoft plans to take more share from Google and how often he checks his Facebook page.

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