Short Takes: September 19, 2014

Short Takes: September 19, 2014

An often irreverent look at this week's other news

An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including a week in Las Vegas, Google is copying Apple yet again, Apple Stores see long lines of iPhonies, Larry Ellison steps down as Oracle CEO but proves he is irreplaceable, and Toshiba exits the consumer PC market to focus on business sales (but not in the US).

Leaving Las Vegas

We had a great week at IT/Dev Connections at the Aria in Las Vegas, and thanks in particular to all the folks who absolutely packed the Q&A session that Mary Jo Foley and I hosted. Good times were had. But now it's time to fly home. And apologies for the brevity here in Short Takes this week. –Paul

"Microsoft reorgs its Trustworthy Computing group; cuts some staff"

I hear Apple could use some help with that stuff.

Google to encrypt all data on Android L-based devices

Apple is getting a lot of positive press for enabling device encryption whenever someone uses a PIN code on an iPhone 6 or other iOS 8-based device. But no worries, Android fans: Google will copy that feature too. The firm confirmed this week that Android L, the next version of its mobile OS, will also automatically enable full-device encryption, ensuring that no one—including thieves, law enforcement officials or snoopy NSA eavesdroppers—will be able to access your data. I think we're at the point where all digital devices require this kind of protection. And so I fully expect Microsoft to follow suit. And for no one to notice.

"One day, even Google will go into decline"

Well, yes. And one day the sun will implode and destroy the earth. I just wouldn't count on it happening soon.

Long lines of iPhonies at Apple Stores around the world

And speaking of Apple, the consumer electronic giant's retail stores were mobbed by long lines of fans eager to purchase the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 smart phones. This, plus Apple's record preorders for the devices, suggests that the firm isn't quite as uncool as some think, and it's fair to say we're on the verge of a record-breaking weekend and quarter of iPhone sales. In fact, the only thing that can hold Apple back at this point is the ability of its China-based manufacturing partners to actually accommodate all the demand. Which, when you think about it, is exactly the right kind of problem to have.

"See inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with new teardown"

Wait. It really is made of pixie dust?

Larry Ellison steps down as Oracle CEO

This one is astonishing in the sense that Larry Ellison is still alive and no one thought he'd leave Oracle otherwise. Well, technically, he's not leaving, as he's still chairman of the database giant he founded all the way back in 1977. And in a bit of showmanship, he's appointed two people to become co-CEOs—Mark Hurd and Safra Catz—because, you know, no one can replace Larry. Two points about Mr. Ellison. Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, he's a college dropout (and like Gates, he is one of the richest people in the world). And the one time I ran into him in person, at COMDEX many years ago, he was jogging through a hallway at the Hilton like a boxer, surrounded by numerous beefy bodyguards, also jogging. As the group pulled up to my location, I reached out a hand to Mr. Ellison and received the following warning from a bodyguard: "Nobody touches Larry." Gotcha.

"iCloud Drive hits Windows ahead of Mac"

And a cricket chirps.

Toshiba exits the consumer PC market

While the market for PCs is steadily improving after a couple of, um, tough years, Toshiba has decided to stick with its core strength and drop its consumer offerings to focus on business PC sales instead. As such, it will cut 900 jobs and take a restructuring charge of $414 million. But aside from the obvious handwringing, this was probably a good decision: The firm's best products are small business laptops and Ultrabooks—full disclosure: I've done several webinars with Toshiba over the past year, but then that's why I know this—and I think they'll see continued success there. (UPDATE: Toshiba tells me this change does not impact its US business, where it will continue to sell to both consumers and businesses. --Paul)  

But Wait, There's More

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