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Code/red: Apple Taps Interim PR Boss

Plus, Musk teases, Box slides and someone calls Google evil.


Job One: Decline to Comment on Your New Role

After nearly six months of searching and deliberation, Apple appears to have settled on a successor to Katie Cotton, its former VP of worldwide corporate communications — and it’s not former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. It’s Apple comms veteran Steve Dowling. Sources close to Apple tell Code/red that Dowling was tapped as interim head of public relations last week by CEO Tim Cook, who has been looking to put a friendlier, more approachable face on Apple’s public relations efforts. Evidently, Apple’s search outside of the company has so far proven fruitless. Dowling’s appointment has been framed to employees as an interim one and I’m told Apple will continue to evaluate worthy outside candidates if one should pop up. That said, the fact that Cook has officially put Dowling at the top of Apple’s PR organization suggests he could remain there. Given that, there’s a new question that’s top of mind for Apple watchers: What will Nat Kerris — who has headed up Apple product PR for years — do now? She has been at Apple for more than a decade and under Steve Jobs and Katie Cotton, and managed the launches of some of its most iconic products. Being passed over for the top comms job can’t be sitting well. Reached for comment, Apple confirmed Dowling’s new role but declined further comment.

Reason for Leaving Last Job: Sacked by Bad Piggies

Angry Birds maker Rovio loves to compare itself to Disney. And just like Disney, it has attached its brand to an astonishing amount of Angry Birds merchandise. (Pro tip: The gummy snacks are not bad.) Unlike Disney, it has yet to find another hit franchise beyond its original game, and it has also been late to adapt to the free-to-play model that now dominates mobile games. So it’s unlikely that today’s layoffs, which will shrink its workforce by 16 percent, will be its last.

What Was That You Were Saying About Stupidity Again?

Günther Oettinger, Europe’s digital economy and society commissioner: “If someone is dumb enough as a celebrity to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online, they surely can’t expect us to protect them. I mean, stupidity is something you can not — or only partly — save people from. … Everybody has a right to privacy.”

Wait Until You See the Optional Mars Towing Package

Looks like the Model X and Model 3 aren’t the only new vehicles Tesla has in the pipeline. According to company founder Elon “Fuck Earth” Musk, there’s another as well. It’s called the D, and Tesla plans to unveil it on October 9 along with a mysterious “something else.”

We Will Float No Share Before Its Time

Cloud storage outfit Box filed for an initial public offering back in March. Seven months later, it’s still not a public company. And it’s not going to be one anytime soon. Sources familiar with the company’s thinking say Box’s IPO may not happen until January.

Coming This Fall to A&E: “Drone Dynasty”

The owner of the Jersey drone fatality: “I heard a shotgun shot, but it didn’t register that they were shooting at me. Then, as I’m starting to move, I hear ‘boom, boom, boom,’ three shots really close together. I think, ‘I’m getting shot at, the drone is getting shot at.'”

What Would You Have Done if They Were Eric Schmidt Nude Photos? Nevermind …

“Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto is a sham.” So says attorney Marty Singer, who is threatening the company with a $100 million lawsuit for failing to expeditiously remove from its services nude photos of more than a dozen of his celebrity clients. Evidently Singer’s clients — whoever they are — feel that Google’s methodical, yet plodding response to the so-called “Fappening” is “despicable” and a facilitation of unlawful conduct. “If your wives, daughters or relatives were the victims of such blatant violations of basic human rights, surely you would take appropriate action,” Singer rails in a letter to the company. “But because the victims are celebrities with valuable publicity rights, you do nothing — nothing but collect millions of dollars in advertising revenue from your co-conspirator advertising partners as you seek to capitalize on this scandal rather than quash it. Like the NFL, which turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimized women and children, Google has turned a blind eye while its sites repeatedly exploit and victimize these women.”

Because We’re Idiots

Joshua Rothman, the New Yorker: “All this raises an obvious question: If Facebook, and social media in general, constitute an unpleasant, Kafkaesque world of incessant judgment, then why do we spend so much time in that world?”

Sometimes a Crisis Just Folds During the Stress Test

Ken Segall: “Bendgate was a crisis in search of relevance.”

Older, Louis Vuitton-Wearing American Woman Has Important Advice for Apple

Amar Toor, The Verge: “I think they should stick with what they know and do well,” said Glenda, an older, Louis Vuitton-wearing American woman who was shopping at Colette today. “Not fashion. … I don’t think people who are fashionable are particularly techie — they’re fashion-forward,” she added, as her friend opened her matching Louis Vuitton bag at the checkout counter. “I just think this is a nuisance.”

Off Topic

Incredible Close-Up Drone Video of an Erupting Volcano in Iceland and a Jony Ive Supercut.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and playful baby monkeys to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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