// HAPPENING TODAY

  • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will have a “thorough and spirited discussion” of his controversial net neutrality proposal with the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
  • Salesforce.com reports earnings.

Let Me Get This Straight — You’re Sticking With Unpatched XP for Security Reasons?

If Microsoft’s intent in ending support for its Windows XP operating system was to drive more upgrades to Windows 8, it grievously underestimated China’s attachment to the antiquated OS. The Chinese government has officially banned Windows 8 from use on all government computers, according to a notice from Beijing’s Central Government Procurement Center (CGPC). The reason? Ostensibly energy conservation and security issues, though cost may be a concern as well. “Windows 8 was way too expensive to be installed in our offices,” a CGPC source told the South China Morning Post. “The center had been negotiating with Microsoft, but we failed to reach a consensus on price.” Hey, there’s always Red Flag Linux. Regardless of rationale, the agency’s decision is an unfortunate one for Microsoft. XP makes up a significant portion of China’s desktop market; some estimates put it as high as 50 percent. Microsoft said in a statement that it was “surprised” by the CGPC’s move and is “working proactively” with it to resolve the issue.


Wonder How Much This Surface Write-Down Is Going to Be

Microsoft VP Panos Panay on the newly announced Surface Pro 3: “For years you’ve been told to buy a tablet, but you know you need a laptop. … This is the tablet that can replace your laptop.”


And They Preloaded My Baggage With All Kinds of Crap I Didn’t Want

Vlad Savov, The Verge: “Like the phone itself, Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5 disappoints.”


Careful, Raanan, That’s a Busy Intersection

Raanan Bar-Cohen, SVP of Commercial Services at Automattic — the company that runs the blogging platform WordPress.com — is changing careers. Come June, he’ll join VC outfit Resolute Ventures as a general partner. “My passion is working right in the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship,” Bar-Cohen told Code/red. “I’ve always been both a tech entrepreneur who loves building businesses and working on product, and a business guy who thinks the more technical you are, the closer you are to the truth.” Cohen will remain an adviser at Automattic.


And Here’s the Thrilling First-Person Video of the SEC Offices …

GoPro filed its IPO documents on Monday, just as we said it would. The action camera company will trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol GPRO. It’s looking to raise $100 million in the offering, though that figure is almost certainly a placeholder.


Steve Jobs Biographer: I, Too, Have a Stupid Theory About the Apple-Beats Deal

Dan Lyons, Billboard: “Walter Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video. He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple’s content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years.”


This Week on “Taxi Cab Secessions” …

Ashwini Chhabra, deputy commissioner of policy and planning at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, defected to Uber on Monday, becoming the company’s first head of policy development and community engagement.


Your Honor, We’d Like to Cite the Case of Rubber v. Glue

If Apple and Samsung are as close to a patent settlement as some reports claim, you wouldn’t know it from their latest legal filings. In an update on the pair’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) efforts released Monday, Apple questioned whether Samsung was even interested in ADR, noting that allowing its lead attorney, John Quinn, to refer to Apple as a “jihadist” and the company’s patent infringement suit against Samsung as its “Vietnam” hardly suggests an interest in smoothing things over. Meanwhile, Samsung accused Apple of trying to extort an improper concession from it and said it should stop bitching about Quinn’s remarks. “Such statements have little, if anything, to do with Samsung’s willingness to discuss settlement,” Samsung wrote. “Simply put, though both parties contend that they are committed to resolution, only Apple seeks to impose an obstacle to this resolution through a unilateral condition precedent to further ADR.”


Project Loon. Works on So Many Levels, Doesn’t It?

Google X Rapid Evaluation Team Lead Richard DeVaul on Project Loon: “I can tell you about one of the unexpected things that happened. We created mass UFO sightings across the U.S.”


So ESPN Is Just Twitch for Grown-Ups

John Gruber, Daring Fireball: “My 10-year-old son loves watching videos of people playing video games. I thought this was odd at first, in a grumpy dad “These kids today…” way. Then last week, while watching my beloved New York Yankees for the umpteenth time this year, it hit me: there’s nothing different about watching video of one sort of game (video) than another (sports). I watch hundreds of hours of baseball every year.”


Ted, I Think You Overestimated Your Lifespan in the Pitch Deck Again

James Surowiecki, The New Yorker: “A 1997 study in the Journal of Business Venturing found that entrepreneurs are overconfident about their ability to prevent bad outcomes. They’re also overconfident about the prospects of their business. A 1988 study in the same journal of some three thousand entrepreneurs found that eighty-one per cent thought their businesses had at least a seventy-per-cent chance of success, and a third thought there was no chance they would fail — numbers that bear no relation to reality. A recent paper called “Living Forever” notes that entrepreneurs are more likely than other people to overestimate their life spans.”


Here’s Your Consumer Benefit: One Less Despised Company

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus says the proposed merger between his company and Comcast* is a “dream combination.” Turns out that’s not a widely held view — certainly not by the companies’ customers. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Time Warner Cable and Comcast consistently ranked last or next to last for phone, Internet service and cable television in their industry. Worse, they ranked last in customer satisfaction across all industries, behind even health-care providers and airlines. As the ACSI notes, this sort of profound disappointment in the two companies doesn’t exactly support their claims that a merger will provide “unique benefits to both consumers and businesses” and would be “broadly advancing the public interest in multiple concrete ways.” Said the ACSI, “The issue at stake … is the question of whether a combination of two pay-TV providers with such poor records could possibly create a better customer experience, especially given the volume of evidence from ACSI data suggesting that mergers in service industries tend to damage satisfaction — at least in the short term.”

* Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is an investor in Revere Digital, the parent company of Re/code.


Or, Perhaps, the Tears of a Clown — You Know, When There’s No One Around?

Photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher: “It was really interesting. It looked like an aerial view, almost as if I was looking down at a landscape from a plane. Eventually, I started wondering — would a tear of grief look any different than a tear of joy? And how would they compare to, say, an onion tear?”


“So Apple?” Pretty Sure No One Ever Said That About the Last Apple Retail VP.

Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac: “Employees who have met with [Angela] Ahrendts describe the new retail chief as “warm and genuine,” “honest,” and “passionate.” As one senior-ranking Apple retail executive put it, “she is so Apple.”


All Right, Who’s the Wiseass Who Put “Rolling Sarcophagus” in the Impala Memo?

The 69 words or phrases to be avoided in all GM memos: “Always, annihilate, apocalyptic, asphyxiating, bad, Band-Aid, big time, brakes like an “X” car, cataclysmic, catastrophic, Challenger, chaotic, Cobain, condemns, Corvair-like, crippling, critical, dangerous, deathtrap, debilitating, decapitating, defect, defective, detonate, disemboweling, enfeebling, evil, eviscerated, explode, failed, flawed, genocide, ghastly, grenadelike, grisly, gruesome, Hindenburg, Hobbling, Horrific, impaling, inferno, Kevorkianesque, lacerating, life-threatening, maiming, malicious, mangling, maniacal, mutilating, never, potentially-disfiguring, powder keg, problem, rolling sarcophagus (tomb or coffin), safety, safety related, serious, spontaneous combustion, startling, suffocating, suicidal, terrifying, Titanic, unstable, widow-maker, words or phrases with a biblical connotation, you’re toast.”


Off Topic

A great “Back To The Future” remix and a starship size comparison chart.


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



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