Uber's New CEO, Alexa Befriends Cortana and More

One: Uber's new CEO

In the last seven months, Uber has endured:

  • The #DeleteUber campaign
  • The fallout from Susan Fowler Rigetti’s blog post, including the Holder investigation and report
  • A lawsuit from Waymo alleging the theft of intellectual property
  • Multiple revelations of past misconduct, including Greyball, which has prompted an investigation from the Department of Justice
  • The forced resignation of founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, and then, earlier this month, an explosive lawsuit against Kalanick from the company’s biggest investor

And, at the end of all that drama — and this is only a partial list (as of the time of this writing Techmeme has had 280 posts about Uber in 2017) — Dara Khosrowshahi, the very successful, very stable, and very well-compensated CEO of Expedia, jumped at the opportunity to take the helm, beating out GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman for the honor…it’s an honor, right?

Ben Thompson, Stratechery


Two: Alexa and Cortana Play Nice Together

"The crowded pack of voice-controlled digital assistants — Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana — are good at numerous things. They can help people play music, set up calendar appointments and check the weather.

"They can even get two rival tech executives, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Satya Nadella of Microsoft, to join hands in a rare partnership."

Nick Wingfiled, The new York Times


Three: Apple in China

"The narrative of Apple's China problem boiling down to a brutal battle with Tencent (WeChat) or local smartphone manufacturers is inaccurate. Apple's business in China is not imploding. Rather, it is experiencing growing pains. After more than a year of sales declines, positive signs are beginning to reappear in Apple's China business. China continues to represent more of an opportunity than a risk for Apple."

Neil Cybart, Above Avalon


Four: How Apple Plans to Change the Way You Use Your Next Phone

"Apple Inc. plans to transform the way people use its next high-end iPhone by eliminating the concept of a home button and making other adjustments to a flagship device that’s becoming almost all screen, according to images of the new device viewed by Bloomberg News and people familiar with the gadget."

Mark Gurma, Bloomberg


Five: The Virtual Reality Price Squeeze

"High-end, mainstream virtual reality is coming up on eighteen months in the consumer market at this point, with the launches of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive early last year and the PlayStation VR in late 2016. Around the time of the first launches, I wrote a piece here about the emerging spread of VR products that existed at that time in two fairly distinct camps separated by quite different pricing, with the higher-end rigs mostly $400-800 on top of either a high-end PC or a console, and mobile VR down at the $100 price point or below. Microsoft and others clearly saw an opportunity in that market to create lower-cost but still powerful VR rigs in-between those two price buckets around that time. But the market has now moved on quite a bit, with recent price reductions squeezing the middle and leaving little room for differentiation where there was once a clear market opportunity."

Jan Dawson, Tech.pinions


Bonus: Dogs Are the Best


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Photo by Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

Five for FridayTimothy Buck