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Re/wind: The Apple Watch Arrives, Alibaba's Big Snapchat Bet and More

Also, Ellen Pao took the stand for four days in the Kleiner Perkins gender discrimination trial this week.

Vjeran Pavic

The tech industry had a busy week. Apple officially launched the Apple Watch, Alibaba gave Snapchat a $200 million shot in the arm and Ellen Pao took the stand in her lawsuit against venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins.

Here’s the news that powered Re/code this week:

  1. Apple Watch is finally here. It has an 18-hour battery life, and it can cost you between $349 and $17,000. You can use a whole variety of apps with it (including Apple Pay), and we got to spend some one-on-one time on camera with the device. but, apparently, millennials aren’t so into Apple Watch yet. The company also announced an exclusive launch partnership with HBO for the entertainment company’s web TV service that’s coming out next month (something the two companies hatched up about a year ago). Apple also unveiled a MacBook with a new kind of USB port and a trackpad that’s outfitted with new sensor technology, which we also were able to get our hands on too. Re/code co-executive editor Kara Swisher was on the ground Snapchatting the event, and came away impressed with Tim Cook’s confidence onstage.
  2. Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce that held the biggest-ever IPO last September, is investing $200 million in Snapchat, a move that will put the ephemeral messaging service’s value at $15 billion. Why is Alibaba so keen on Snapchat? Probably because Snapchat’s new Discover platform is the first new platform that media industry people have gotten excited about in some time, with potentially huge advertising revenue backing up the hype.
  3. The trial in downtown San Francisco commanding all of Silicon Valley’s attention slogged onward this week, as Ellen Pao finally testified in court for four days in her gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao said that she filed her lawsuit on behalf of all women in venture capital, and Kleiner Perkins’ attorneys worked to poke holes in Pao’s story during cross-examination. The defense also asked the judge for permission to talk about Pao’s husband’s finances, but the request was denied. Pao also was asked questions from the jury, and we assembled a timeline of our coverage of the trial to help you get up to speed.
  4. On Monday, the highly-respected tech news, events and research company Gigaom suddenly announced it would be shutting down, effective immediately. Sources told Re/code that Gigaom’s research arm was swallowing up too much money, leaving the company unable to pay down its debt.
  5. At this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, everyone was talking about next-generation 5G wireless technology. What does 5G mean for consumers? Faster data speeds, loads of new industrial applicationsm but another two years or so before you’ll be able to experience it.
  6. Desktop PC sales are sliding as more people move to mobile, which is hurting chipmakers such as Intel. Intel lowered its Q1 revenue outlook this week, which it also blamed on the strong dollar.
  7. According to new data, Google’s pay TV business is growing slowly, which is probably some comfort to the big telecos. What might worry them down the line, on the other hand, is Google’s broadband Internet business.
  8. The enterprise tech and cloud storage company Box also delivered some bad news in its Q4 earnings report this week, its first since its IPO earlier this year. A quarterly loss (expected), and an analyst error in the days leading up to its IPO that caused shareholder confusion (unexpected) sent shares down 14 percent.
  9. Last fall, The Guardian published a series of reports that ostensibly revealed sketchy user data practices at the anonymous messaging app Whisper. But, on Wednesday, it issued an apology and partial retraction, which is probably of little comfort to the editorial team Whisper sacked in the wake the scandal.
  10. Square appears to moving back to its enterprise tech roots, as this week it bought the wireless hardware startup Kili Technology and shut down its consumer-focused Square Wallet.

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