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Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Apple web ranking; Dell CEO out; Zune exec gone too

Apple has jumped two spots in one firm's Web property rankings. Meanwhile, Michael Dell is back at the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. And over in Redmond, a Zune honcho has tossed in the towel.

Apple secures 11th spot in Web rankings

The number of unique visitors to Apple Inc's web sites continued to swell during the month of December, edging the iPod maker up two more spots in a worldwide ranking of top web properties.

According to data released Wednesday by comScore, the Cupertino-based company saw more than 111 million visitors to its websites during the December holiday month, good enough to make it the web's 11th most trafficked property. That's up from 13th place the previous year.

Rollins gone, Dell back in

Dell said Wednesday that founder Michael Dell will assume the duties of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, replacing Kevin Rollins, who also stepped down from the company's board.

The No. 2 PC manufacturer in the same statement said it expects fourth-quarter fiscal 2007 results to miss estimates for both revenue and earnings per share.

"Dell has tremendous opportunities ahead of it," said Mr. Dell. "I am enthusiastic about Dell 2.0, which includes our plan to provide the best customer experience, build a strong global services business and ensure our products deliver the best long-term customer value."

Top Zune exec to pursue other interests

Meanwhile, a senior Microsoft executive who oversaw the launch of Zune plans to leave the company, the Associated Press is reporting.

Bryan Lee, corporate vice president at Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, will reportedly severe ties with the Redmond-based software giant sometime in the next several weeks in order to "pursue personal interests."

Lee is a key deputy of Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft's entertainment and device division. He'll be replaced by J Allard, one of the early Xbox leaders.

Microsoft still hopes to sell its millionth Zune by the end of June.