Today in Tech: Microsoft hires TV exec to boost original content

September 19, 2012, 9:30 AM UTC

The iPhone 5 reviewed; Yahoo giving shareholders $3.65 billion.

iPhone 5 review: Finally, the iPhone we’ve always wanted [CNET]

Well, guess what? Now it has 4G LTE and…well, maybe not a giant screen, but a larger screen. That’s not all, though: the already great camera’s been subtly improved, speakerphone and noise-canceling quality has been tweaked, and — as always — iOS 6 brings a host of other improvements, including baked-in turn-by-turn navigation, a smarter Siri, and Passbook, a location-aware digital wallet app for storing documents like gift cards, boarding passes, and tickets.

The question is: a full year later, is that enough? For me, it is. I don’t want much more in my smartphone. Sure, I’d love a new magical technology to sink my teeth into, but not at the expense of being useful. Right now, I’m not sure what that technology would even be.

With Hollywood hire, Microsoft bolsters entertainment efforts [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

Ms. Tellem will oversee a Microsoft production studio based in Los Angeles that will create both traditional “linear” programming and interactive programming that fuses video and gamelike content, they said. She will report to Phil Spencer, the corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, part of the Microsoft entertainment division that oversees the company’s Xbox console.

Yahoo to give shareholders $3.65 billion, Mayer explains why in leaked memo [BUSINESS INSIDER]

Yahoo will be keeping $650 million.

“This outcome is terrific for Yahoo,” writes Mayer.

“It generates liquidity to create substantial value for our shareholders, while retaining a meaningful amount in the company to invest in our future.”

“Also, because we still own 23 percent of Alibaba’s common stock, we have the opportunity to benefit from future upside when Alibaba IPOs.”

Baxter robot heads to work [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
Rethink Robotics Inc. introduced Tuesday a low-cost—and cute—robot named Baxter that can do such factory chores as picking parts off a conveyor belt, so long as they don’t weigh more than five to 10 pounds. … Boston-based Rethink, founded in 2008, said Baxter eliminates the need to hire specialist technicians. Rodney Brooks, chairman of Rethink, said most workers would be able to learn to operate Baxter within half an hour. Rethink touts the robot as appealing for small and midsize manufacturers that previously haven’t been able to afford robots and lacked the expertise to program them.
While conventional wisdom may hold that YouTube videos are amateurish and unprofitable compared to television, Maker Studios is making inroads to prove that wrong

Maker is one of a phalanx of new web-video powers, joining Machinima, FullScreen and Big Frame in pioneering the field. They aid prominent YouTubers in production, marketing and merchandise, while also amassing networks of and selling advertising for other YouTube channels.

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