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Code/red: Apple Looks Outside for New Comms VP

Tim Cook wants a friendlier, more approachable face for Apple PR.


Okay, Let Me Hear the “Apple Never Comments …” Line Again, but This Time With Less Icy Reserve

Who’s going to succeed Katie Cotton as VP of worldwide corporate communications at Apple? That’s one of the more interesting questions at the company these days following Cotton’s retirement last month after nearly two decades spent shaping its communications strategy. And though there are at least two well-qualified internal candidates for the job — comms veterans Steve Dowling and Nat Kerris — Apple is also looking outside the company for Cotton’s replacement. Sources in position to know tell Code/red that CEO Tim Cook is overseeing the search, aiming to find some high-profile external candidates for consideration. And he’s paying particular attention to those he believes could put a friendlier, more approachable face on Apple’s public relations efforts. Hardly surprising, as VP of comms is a position that reports directly to Cook, and he obviously wants to put the best person he possibly can into it. But interesting nonetheless, as passing over a pair of veterans groomed under company co-founder Steve Jobs for an outsider could herald a big shift in Apple’s PR strategy and its comms team. Would Dowling and Kerris stick around if one or both didn’t get the job? Apple declined comment on the matter.

Yes, but Will Travis Kalanick’s Motivational Business Music Record Be Better Than Andrew Mason’s

Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal: “Uber’s growth is reminiscent of Groupon, and we know what happened to them.”

Insert Bad “Washio Cleans Up” Joke Here

Dear all entrepreneurs: Punch yourselves in the face. If you never pitched investors your idea to build a startup around the idea of removing pit stains from shirts because you thought they might laugh at you, you were wrong. Santa Monica-based Washio just got a new $10.5 million investment.

Amtrak Plans to Replace Lousy Wi-Fi With Lousy Wi-Fi

Looks like Amtrak has settled on a plan to improve the lousy Wi-Fi on its trains. It’s soliciting proposals for a trackside wireless network along its Northeast Corridor, which connects Boston to Washington, D.C. Amtrak’s goal is to develop a scalable train‐to-ground network that can deliver sustained throughput speeds of at least 25 Mbps per train. Now that would certainly be an improvement over the Wi-Fi service it currently offers, but a negligible one — 25 Mbps per train still means pathetically slow speeds for individual passengers. So what’s the point? Amtrak would be far better off pitching this job to Google as a gigabit-fiber experiment. And, frankly, Google would do well to entertain the idea if it did. Certainly, it would be cheaper than hiring lobbyists in D.C., bankers in N.Y. and recruiters in Cambridge.

No Hard Feelings, Sounds Like You’ve Done a Lousy Job

Google security chief Eric Grosse: “I am willing to help on the purely defensive side of things. But signals intercept is totally off the table. No hard feelings, but my job is to make [the NSA’s] job hard.”

Sony Pulls Back Into Console Lead, Gets “Luigi Death Stare” From Nintendo

This is proving to be an abysmal year for Nintendo. Back in May, the company reported its third consecutive annual loss. Then, earlier this month, it announced plans to consolidate its European operations, sacking 130 employees. Now it has suffered another humiliating blow: Sony has overtaken it in game-console sales for the first time in nearly a decade. According to company data, Sony sold 18.7 million home and portable game consoles during the fiscal year ended on March 31. Meanwhile, Nintendo sold just 16.31 million — a 31 percent decline from the year prior. This is the first time Sony has been back in the top spot since it was felled by the blockbuster success of the Wii in 2006.

Torvalds Credits Business Ineptitude for Success of Linux

Linux founder Linus Torvalds: “The thing is, me trying to make a business around Linux would have been a total disaster. It would have made it impossible to get the kind of community around Linux that we have, and that was so instrumental in making Linux what it is today. Plus, quite frankly, I’d have sucked at it.”

Kim Dotcom Announces Megabounty

As the July extradition hearing in his online piracy case grows ever closer, Megaupload and Mega founder Kim “I’m not a pirate, I’m an innovator” Dotcom is offering a $5 million bounty for any information that might help him prove that the charges of racketeering, money laundering and copyright theft he currently faces were unfairly brought. “We are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the U.S. government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak. “We know that there are people out there with information. … I’m determined to fight a grave injustice that has been done to a legitimate cloud storage business, its 220 employees and over 100 million users.”

Comic Sans: The Terrifying Legacy of Microsoft Bob

Tim Dowling, The Guardian: “The problem that Comic Sans solved concerned a short-lived Windows interface called Microsoft Bob. It featured a cartoon dog who spoke to computer users through speech bubbles. The words inside the speech bubble were rendered in Times New Roman, which didn’t look right to Connare. He thought a cartoon dog should talk like a cartoon character, in comic book writing.”

Off Topic

The first Vine from space, and all of the English dialogue in “Star Wars” sorted alphabetically.

Thanks for reading. Got a tip or a comment? Reach me at, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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