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Friday Five – Yahoo bag Tumblr and Nikola Tesla pitches for VC funding

ChrisMayerElliotBentley
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Our weekly off-beat look back at the week that was, in tech and beyond. Featuring John McCain’s important iPhone question to Tim Cook.

Welcome to yet another installment of the Friday Five, JAXenter’s selection of stories which are slightly outside the normal remit. Basically, stuff to put a smile on your face going into the weekend. And for us, it’s an extended weekend! Shame the London weather doesn’t want to cooperate with that.

Anyway, let’s get on with it. Here’s our picks from the last seven days.

1. Nikola Tesla Pitching to Silicon Valley VCs

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Hats off to those behind this excellent Kickstarter video which takes aim at the VC scene. The premise is simple – what would happen if one of the world’s greatest inventors had to pitch his idea in today’s market. It’s clearly struck a chord with some, with Om Malik writing a long response about what the video tells about the state of Silicon Valley.

2. Yahoo buy Tumblr for $1.1bn

The big tech news this week was Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, forking out a hefty $1.1bn for the blogging platform. Understandably, many were sceptical of the huge outlay, especially given Yahoo’s track record with acquisitions, such as Flickr and Geocities.

Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer attempted to allay fears, stating in a blogpost: “We promise not to screw it up.” It’s also probably the only acquisition blogpost to start with its own specially crafted gif. Tumblr’s founder David Karp was also quick to quell concerns, writing that Tumblr wouldn’t be “turning purple” before signing off in typical Karp exuberance. Curiously his Twitter parody account has three times as many followers than he does…

3. Xbox One

Following Sony’s unveiling of the PlayStation 4 earlier this year, Microsoft this week outlined their vision for the next generation of gaming. And that future is… TV, if the hour-long presentation was anything to go by. And photorealistic military dogs, apparently.

It’s what wasn’t said onstage about the dismally-named Xbox One, however, that has generated the most controversy. The Kinect camera will need plugging in at all times, each game will be tied to a single user account (effectively killing off the pre-owned market) and the TV integration may be far less accomplished than the onstage demos suggested.

Still, it’s too early to judge the “Xbone”, as it has been affectionately named. These problems may be all but forgotten once its game lineup is announced next month at E3.

4. SAP’s autism recruitment drive

Some encouraging news from the German software company - they’re searching for software engineers diagnosed with autism. SAP are teaming up with Specialisterne, a foundation that helps find work for those with autism, to fill data quality assurance roles. The big hope is that by 2020, 1% of its entire workforce will be employees with autism. Let’s hope other tech firms follow their lead.

5. John McCain asks the important questions

Over in the UK, we’d not heard much of Senator John McCain since his Presidential race with Barack Obama, so we were relieved to see him pose an important question to Apple chief Tim Cook. Next week, Joe Biden asks Steve Ballmer why Windows 8 doesn’t have a Start button.  

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