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Blockbuster prices

Blockbuster will offer 99-cent DVD rentals for the first time to lure customers in tough economic times, CEO Jim Keyes said Thursday at the Reuters Media Summit. He also said the company is renegotiating one-third of its store leases to cut costs.

Real layoffs

RealNetworks is laying off 130 employees, or 7.5% of its staff, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday. It also is eliminating 30 contract positions and consultants. On its company blog, however, RealNetworks reiterated that it is on track to report record revenue for the year.

Microsoft move

Microsoft on Thursday hired former Yahoo executive Qi Lu to head its online services group. The software giant, which tried and failed to buy Yahoo this year, is looking to revamp its search ad strategy to better compete with Google. Qi left Yahoo in August after 10 years.

Apple bite

Shares of Apple fell Thursday, coinciding with a Piper Jaffray analyst report from Gene Munster that predicted slower iPod and computer sales but spiking iPhone sales next year. The analyst cut his target on Apple to $235. The stock was down 5% on Thursday to $91.41.
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