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Let's face it, when you have Macworld and the Consumer Electronics Show in the same week, it's an overwhelming amount of news to deal with, even (maybe especially) for a technology journalist like myself who gets paid to follow the latest and greatest and report back to you. I've been picking my brain this morning trying to decide what to focus on, but in the end I decided to punt and give you an overview of my top stories to come out of the two shows this week. So here we go:

1. Steve Jobs Has a Hormone Disorder

I know, not really news from either show, but as I wrote earlier this week in my post Steve Jobs Lives, Story at 11, Jobs released a letter to the Apple community regarding his health. It has long been rumored he was deathly ill. He wanted to set the record straight. Apparently, he has a hormone disorder, doctors have a treatment and should be putting on weight by spring.

2. Palm Introduces Sexy New Phone, Dubbed the Pre

This is a wildly attractive new phone from the folks at Palm. I know you thought Palm was dead and buried, but just when you think a technology company is gone, there it is again. The new phone, which will be distributed by Sprint, has a touch screen interface combined with a slide out QWERTY keyboard. Check out this demo on YouTube. There is a lot to like about this phone (although I think foregoing the on-screen keyboard completely is a mistake).

3. Microsoft Scores a Mobile Search Deal with Verizon

If ever there were two companies made for each it's Microsoft and Verizon, the company you may recall that turned down the opportunity to distribute the iPhone. Well, this week Verizon announced it had chosen Microsoft to be its mobile search provider. This was actually a sweet victory for Microsoft as they beat out rivals Google and Yahoo to win the deal. Whether it was a good choice by Verizon remains to be seen, but it was good news for MSFT.

4. Apple Kills DRM on Music at iTunes

Apple didn't make a huge splash this week at Macworld, but music users everywhere let out a loud cheer when it announced that 8M of the 10M songs would be available DRM-free from iTunes. The other 2M will be available by the end of the first quarter. It also announced a tiered pricing scheme for songs of .69, .99 and $1.29.

5. Microsoft Release Windows 7 Beta

And finally, Microsoft got more love from the news cycle by announcing it was releasing a Beta version of Windows 7 for general distribution today. Unlike previous Windows Beta cycles, this one is available to the general public. Not sure why you would want to use an OS from Microsoft in early Beta beyond the curiosity factor, but the fact Microsoft made it available and released it so quickly is big news.

There you have it. Five big news stories from what has been a crazy week in technology news. If you think I missed one of the big stories, please leave a comment and set me straight.

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