Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover the impending changes at Microsoft, Amazon being sued for in-app purchases, the Kickstarter campaign for potato salad and the first fatality of a Tesla driver.
Big changes coming at Microsoft
In a 3,100-word memo to employees, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid the groundwork for major changes to be announced later this month that will shake up the entire organization.
There weren’t too many specifics mentioned but Nadella highlighted:
- Changes to organizational structure and culture to help the company “increase the fluidity of information and ideas.” Layoffs are likely imminent, especially since the company picked up over 25,000 employees from acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division. And “more on the engineering and organization changes we believe are needed” will be announced soon.
- A focus on the company’s role as a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. Extending past mere spreadsheets and documents, Microsoft highlighted its virtual assistant Cortana’s role in enhancing productivity as an example of the types of products the company should build.
- They’re keeping Xbox around. Xbox has nothing to do with the company’s core focus of productivity; quite the opposite, I’d argue. And while many analysts and pundits have pushed Microsoft to shed Xbox, Nadella is holding on to its gaming division…for now.
Amazon sued for billing for app store purchases
The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon for allowing children to easily make in-app purchases from without their parents consent. The court stated that “many millions of dollars” were spent due to Amazon’s negligence.
The suit states that Amazon allows children to purchase digital goods, such as coins, clues and other tools that help a player progress through a game, without parental notifications or password requirements. The charges led to thousands of complaints from parents of children who accumulated charges in the hundreds of dollars.
Apple faced similar charges and wound up settling with the FTC, agreeing to pay $32.5 million of refunds to customers. Similar to the Apple case, the FTC is seeking refunds and a consent requirement from Amazon.
Kickstarter campaign for potato salad blows past goal
You read that headline correctly. There’s a campaign on Kickstarter to raise money to make potato salad, and it blew past its initial goal of $10 to raise nearly $50,000 from over 5,500 backers.
What started as a spoof has now become a legitimate campaign and internet sensation. There’s some chatter about what types of campaigns belong and don’t belong on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but the public reaction to this one clearly shows it passes the test.
Man steals Tesla then becomes first to die in Model S crash
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has bragged many times about how safe his Model S’s are and that no one has ever died driving one. That has changed now, but through no fault of the car or company.
On July 4th, a 26-year-old man stole a Tesla Model S from a dealership in Los Angeles and led police through a high-speed chase. The man was ejected from the car after hitting other vehicles and crashing into a light pole at 100 mph and died three days later.
This is clearly not the car or company’s fault but Tesla’s stock has taken a hit because of the incident and Elon Musk will likely have to go back to defending his cars’ safety.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.