Apple has named former Microsoft Product Marketing chief Robin Burrowes as the head of App Store Marketing for iTunes Europe, becoming the latest games executive to join Apple’s ranks.
MCV reports that Burrowes worked at Microsoft for seven years, where he was responsible for product, business and marketing management of Xbox LIVE across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
Burrowes was one of the main figures behind the promotion of Microsoft’s latest Xbox dashboard update and previously worked for MSN and UK retail store HMV. His LinkedIn profile suggests that he joined Apple in January, to help the company promote its iTunes service and App Store across Europe.
As MCV points out, Burrowes isn’t the first high-profile British gaming figure to make the jump to Apple. The Cupertino-based company welcomed former Nintendo PR boss Robert Saunders early last year, adding former Activision, EA and Xbox PR boss Nick Grange to focus on PR for its hardware products.
It’s the second European hire that we have become aware of this week, with Apple appointing Dixons Retail CEO John Browett as its new senior vice president of Retail, reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Browett has been CEO of Dixons since 2007 and will join Apple in April, becoming immediately responsible for the company’s retal strategy and “continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.”
Apple has declined to comment on its new hire.
Investor confidence in Nokia appears to be on the upswing. A narrower third-quarter loss and an upbeat forecast from the mobile phone company pushed its shares up eight percent Tuesday morning.
And, indeed, there is good reason to celebrate Nokia’s third-quarter earnings. The company once again posted an increase in sales of its Lumia smartphone, shipping 8.8 million of them during the quarter. That’s a nice bump up from the record 7.4 million it sold in the quarter prior, and a vast improvement over the 2.9 million it sold during the same period a year ago.
Another highlight: Nokia’s handset sales in North America. There, the Finnish company recorded sales of 1.4 million units in the third quarter. That’s nearly triple the number it sold in the second quarter, and far more than the 300,000 units it shipped in the year-ago period.
Now, 1.4 million smartphones shipped in North America isn’t exactly a triumph in absolute terms – companies like Apple and Samsung shipped many, many more – but it’s progress, and a promising development for Nokia’s device business, which is to be acquired by Microsoft early next year. Great news for the software giant, which is paying $7.2 billion for it in the hope that Nokia’s smartphone expertise will make Windows Phone relevant in a market dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone.
Amazon today launched the MatchBook program it announced last month, which lets owners of select print books bought on Amazon get the Kindle e-book versions for $2.99 or cheaper.
Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen is stepping down from his role as CEO and up to the post of chairman of the online crowdfunding company on Jan. 1, he blogged today, saying that the move will give him more time for creative projects. The new CEO will be co-founder Yancey Strickler, who previously worked on customer service, community and communications. The third Kickstarter co-founder, Charles Adler, is leaving his day-to-day role. The company published new stats yesterday, among them that it has had five million people back projects.
Many people are waiting for expected upcoming smartwatches from Apple and Google to take the wearable category to the next level. Or at least as much of a next-level as you can expect from a first-generation product. “It seems as though the whole product category has moved on to Activity Tracking 1.1, but hasn’t quite graduated to Wearables 2.0,” AllThingsD‘s Lauren Goode astutely observed.
Until that next level arrives, today’s wearable gadgets offer limited activity-tracking accuracy and somewhat forced integration with phones. Trying out the notifier watch Pebble or the often-buggy Jawbone Up can feel like beta-testing prerelease prototype products. At best, the products provide the user with a little push to be more active.
In an attempt to compete with what’s available today, and to carve out space before the biggies hit the market, a couple of new bands are currently raising money via crowdfunding by trying to be excellent by being more specific.
The Memi is kind of like the Pebble watch, but specifically for women. It’s based around notifications, not fitness. The big appeal is the simplicity of the design: A simple metal bangle that vibrates to indicate incoming calls and texts from people on a preapproved list. There’s no display.
Based in Atlanta and New York City, Memi launched on Kickstarter three days ago, and has raised just over $20,000, with a goal of $100,000.
“A lot of these smartwatches are trying to do more. You’re getting pinging and dinging, vibrating and lights. We’re taking a different approach, for women who want to unplug a little more,” said Memi co-founder and president Margaux Guerard, who formerly worked in luxury marketing with brands like Bobbi Brown and Diane von Furstenberg.
Guerard’s pitch is that Memi will allow women to leave their phones in their pockets or bags, and only pull them out when they know that a call or message is important. Memi is also meant to be pretty.
“Timeless jewelry is metal,” Guerard said. “And really nothing else in this space is metal.”
Kickstarter pledgers can currently get Memi bands for $125.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum is Push, a new wearable band for bodybuilders.
Made by a startup from Toronto, Push is worn on the forearm, so the wrists can be left free for weight-lifting. An onboard accelerometer and gyroscope detect the force, power and velocity of each exercise.
Why couldn’t this just be done with a smartphone and a strap? The accelerometer is higher-quality than those found in smartphones, and the device needs to be worn with the band right up against the skin to get the best measurements, according to Michael Lovas, Push’s chief design officer.
Push will also offer a belt to measure exercises that don’t involve the arms, though Lovas said the forearm should cover most of the big lifts, including squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press, clean and jerk. The default size should be small enough to fit women, he said.
Indiegogo backers can buy the device for $149. Push is also planning to sell through coaches, who will pay a monthly fee to set up a fitness portal for their athletes and observe their progress.
Push has exceeded its Indiegogo goal of $80,000 Canadian dollars, with 18 days of fundraising to go, and more than $94,000 CAD pledged.
In May, a dozen Amazon.com Inc. executives, including Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, gathered in a Seattle conference room to select the first original TV shows the company would produce for its streaming video service.
A group of 14 “pilot” episodes had been posted on the company’s website a month earlier, where they were viewed by more than one million people. After monitoring viewing patterns and comments on the site, Amazon produced about 20 pages of data detailing, among other things, how much a pilot was viewed, how many users gave it a five-star rating and how many shared it with friends.
Those findings helped the executives pick the first five pilots – winnowed down from an original pool of thousands of show ideas – that would be turned into series. The first will debut this month: “Alpha House,” a political comedy about four politicians who live together, written by Doonesbury comic strip creator Garry Trudeau.
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