Strap on your fedora, prepare the music, place your feet on the desk, and settle in for your roundup of TNW Microsoft’s favorite stories from the past week.

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Now, make sure that you are following us on Twitter, and Facebook, and let’s jump into the news so that we can dive into the weekend.

Xbox: Sales Explosion

The official numbers are out: Microsoft sold more than 1.7 million Xbox 360 consoles this November in the US alone. This figure is above analyst estimates, and set records for the brand. We continue to be surprised at the sales legs of the 360, given that its successor will show its face early next year and will likely be on sale in less than a year’s time.

Microsoft has put up a string of impressive numbers with the larger Xbox line recently, such as selling 750,000 Kinect sensors during the week that included Black Friday. The Xbox line, along with the Wii and the PS3, may be aging, but consumer demand remains sufficiently robust to propel each of the brands into the next year, and eventually to their next hardware installment.

In other news, the YouTube app for the Xbox is now live, if you are into such things.

Windows 8: The Ugly Edition

Screenshots leaked this week that showed off the music player in Windows 8. It’s heinous. As we noted:

While the ‘Metro’ design theme that Windows 8 is set to embody has generally been met with positive reviews, it has always run the risk of being too flat, to square, and too dull. The music player that, according to recent leaks, is present in the current build of the operating system falls prey to each of those failings.

Think that we are being unfair? We aren’t. Look at this:

IMG 5423 This week at Microsoft: Xbox, Andy Lees, and Windows 8

Andy Less Booted

The head of Windows Phone was removed from his post, causing a stir, but it wasn’t known until recently if he had been promoted, or fired. It turns out to be the latter.

Due to what sources called OEM tensions and weak sales, Lees was removed and shunted over to an ephemeral role between Windows Phone and Windows 8. He was, to quote the sources, ‘benched.’ There was no immediate replacement for Lees, but Myerson, a long-time leader in the project, will tend the reins until something more formal is worked out.

This should have no negative short-term sales impact on Windows Phone itself, but it’s not exactly heartening.

SkyDrive Apps

Good news Windows Phone and iOS users, Microsoft has released SkyDrive for your phone. Android users have to wait outside for the time being. This is what we are looking at: “The app itself allows for the full browsing of a user’s SkyDrive file contents, the sharing of SkyDrive folders with others, the creation and management of folders, and of course, the deleting of items that are no longer needed.”

Microsoft effectively just gave every iPhone user a fat chunk of free cloud storage. And who says that Microsoft is always evil?