Microsoft Changes, Kutcher Phones, Gates Billions, Leather Chromebooks [Tech News Digest]
Today in Tech News Digest, Microsoft switches things up a little, Lenovo loves Ashton Kutcher, Bill Gates is still rich, Samsung brings the leather look to Chromebook, Kickstarter takes $1 billion in pledges, Oppia goes beta, and kids cannot get their heads around rotary phones.
Microsoft: From Scroogled To Strategy
Everyone ripping on Microsoft for promoting the guy who came up with Scroogled…he was also the guy behind their superbowl ad too.
— Brad Sams (@bdsams) March 4, 2014
Microsoft has embarked on an executive reshuffle, with some people being promoted while others are shown the door. This is the first round of changes made under the leadership of new CEO Satya Nadella , and gives us an indication of the direction in which he’ll be taking Microsoft.
Tony Bates, formerly the CEO of Skype, is leaving the company. As is Tami Reller, who has held multiple positions across the company since 2001. Chris Capossela is now the Chief Marketing Officer, reporting directly to Nadella.
The most interesting move is the promotion of Mark Penn to Chief Strategy Officer. Penn is best known as the brains behind the ‘Scroogled’ campaign , which saw Microsoft launching attacks on Google of a brutally mocking manner.
This all suggests Nadella is determined to change things up, and attacking the competition may be part of the longterm plan to get Microsoft back to the dominant position it once held.
Ashton Kutcher Designing Lenovo Phones
Good call by Lenovo to create Ashton Kutcher smartphone. Widely respected and beloved actor. So relevant. Maybe Carrot Top tablet next?
— Tero Kuittinen (@teroterotero) March 1, 2014
Lenovo has placed considerable faith in Ashton Kutcher, putting him in charge of designing a new line of smartphones. Kutcher was hired in 2013 to promote Lenovo’s mobile devices, but according to Re/code he’s actually getting his hands dirty on the production side.
David Roman, Chief Marketing Officer at Lenovo, said of Kutcher, “He not only sees himself as an engineer, but he is an engineer. If he sees a problem, he wants to solve it.” And this appears to have been all the qualifications Kutcher needed to be put in charge of the “user experience of the phones.”
For Lenovo’s sake we have to hope Kutcher is a better designer than he is an actor.
Bill Gates Is Considerably Richer Than You
You’re dropping out of college because “Bill Gates did it”? I’m sure you’ll be just as successful.
— Sarcasm :) (@SarcasmPage) March 2, 2014
Bill Gates has always been richer than you or I, but now, once again, he’s richer than anyone else in the world too. Gates has topped the Forbes Rich List for 2014, with a net worth of $76 billion. This puts him ahead of Carlos Slim ($72 billion) and Amancio Ortega ($64 billion).
Carlos Slim has topped the list for the last four years, but Gates has now claimed the crown back. Other technology entrepreneurs to make the list include Larry Ellison ($48 billion), Larry Page ($32.3 billion) and Sergey Brin ($31.8 billion), Jeff Bezos ($32 billion), and Mark Zuckerberg ($28.5 billion).
Samsung Teases Kinky Chromebooks
The high school kids these are aimed at will really appreciate the Faux Leather stitching Samsung’s Chromebook 2s http://t.co/9Y5ovdPx1b
— Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) March 3, 2014
Samsung has announced two new Chromebooks. Both are very much as you would expect them to be, with improved hardware specs and an increased price to match. But the big change is a faux leather look that consumers will either love or hate. TechCrunch has all the details.
Kickstarter Passes $1 Billion Milestone
WOW! Over $1 billion has been pledged to projects on Kickstarter: https://t.co/GSj5TyJLKH
— Kickstarter (@kickstarter) March 3, 2014
Kickstarter has hit the $1 billion milestone, with 5.7 million people having pledged that amount of money since the site launched in 2009. Demonstrating the mainstream acceptance of crowdfunding platforms , more than half of that money was pledged in the past 12 months.
Kickstarter has celebrated the achievement with a page detailing who pledged the money, which projects it made possible, and what else $1 billion could buy. Which acts a nice counterpoint to the Bill Gates story above.
Oppia Offers Open Source Educational Tools
Oppia, an open-source, educational tool for interactive learning, has been launched in beta . Oppia, which was created by Google engineers during “their 20% time,” allows anyone to create interactive educational activities through a simple Web interface.
Kids React To Rotary Phones
And finally, for a generation which sees everyone using smartphones , old-style rotary phones are nothing more than a piece of ancient history that belong in museums.
The Fine Brothers decided to see how kids would react to rotary phones, and this video catalogs their bemused dealings with this chunky piece of technology from yesteryear. The results are fascinating.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Robert Scoble via Flickr