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Code/red: BlackBerry's Passport to Savings

Plus, Alibaba slips below $90 and Rand Paul's search for SV brains.


BlackBerry CEO: We’d Charge More for the Passport if People Actually Wanted It

BlackBerry’s new Passport handset should cost about $700, given the unsubsidized price of rival devices like Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy. But it will cost significantly less than that when it arrives at market Wednesday. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company has priced the Passport at $599 — without subsidies. “I figure that to try to get the market interested, we’re going to start a little lower than [$700],” he told the Wall Street Journal.

BABA Booey, Redux

After pricing at $68 a share, Alibaba’s stock closed at $93.89 Friday — up 38 percent, giving the company a market value of $231 billion. But it’s having trouble holding onto that heady valuation today. Alibaba opened trading at $92.70 per share Monday morning and quickly slipped below $90, charting a decline of more than four percent.

Apple Watch — A Wrist-Based Solution for First-World Problems

Apple CEO Tim Cook: “I love operating my Apple TV from the watch. I don’t have to worry anymore about the remote falling through the cushions of the sofa.”

Next Step: Figure Out How to Make Money Beyond YouTube

The YouTube gold rush continues apace with no end in sight. This morning Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T and Peter Chernin’s Chernin Group, said it’s buying a majority stake in the popular YouTube network Fullscreen — just like we told you in July. The deal is believed to value Fullscreen somewhere between $200 million and $300 million.

Point/Counterpoint: You’re Bribing Customers vs. You’re Gagging Customers

Yelp Support to Botto Bistro: “I’m contacting you from the Yelp User Support Team because we’ve received complaints from the community that you may be offering incentives in exchange for reviews.”

Botto Bistro to Yelp Support: “I’m contacting you from the Botto User Support Team because we’ve received complaints from the community that you may be removing reviews in exchange for vague explanations to loyal customers.”

Time to Change Your Last Name to Dotbomb, Kim?

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom on his Internet Party’s failed run at government: “We lost tonight, but we did not lose because of our leadership — we had great leadership. We did not lose because of our campaign — we had a great campaign. And we did not lose because of our vision, because we had a great vision. I have to admit that we lost because of me.”

The First Rule of Amazon Literary Weekend Club Is: You Do Not Talk About Amazon Literary Weekend Club

David Streitfeld, the New York Times:”Every fall, Mr. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, hosts Campfire, a literary weekend in Santa Fe, N.M. Dozens of well-known novelists have attended, but they do not talk about the abundance of high-end clothing and other gifts, the lavish meals, the discussion under the desert stars by Neil Armstrong or the private planes that ferried some home.”

Rand Paul: More Braaaaaiiiiins!

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on his new Bay Area office: “There’s a lot of smart people in Silicon Valley, and we want to use their brains to figure out how to win.”

Point/Counterpoint: Ali Will Be an Adviser vs. Here’s Some Advice — Drop Dead

Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick: “I think we both realized that we’d all be more effective with him as an adviser — given our current needs and opportunities as a young, growing company.”

Former Hampton Creek Chief Strategy Officer Ali Partovi: “I resigned completely. I’m not working with Hampton Creek in any capacity.”

Puts a Whole New Light on an “Uber Pickup”

LA Uber driver Arman: “Uber’s like an exploiting pimp. Uber takes 20 percent of my earnings, and they treat me like shit. They cut prices whenever they want. They can deactivate me whenever they feel like it, and if I complain, they tell me to fuck off.”

Off Topic

Two guys lip sync a job interview imagined by kids and The Onion: iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S5.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and self-balancing electric scooters to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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