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ExtraBITS for 10 February 2014

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This week in ExtraBITS, Microsoft has named Satya Nadella, executive vice president of the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group, as its new CEO. The bad news for Microsoft is that even North Korea doesn’t want to copy its products anymore, as the latest version of the regime’s official Linux distribution has ditched the Windows look for a more Mac-like theme. What would Steve Jobs have thought? Who knows, but he apparently wanted Sony to install Mac OS X on its VAIO line of computers. NBC tried to shock us with claims of hacking at the Sochi Olympics, but the entire report turned out to be completely fabricated. Finally, Apple is buying back its stock at a deep discount, and CEO Tim Cook has promised new product categories for this year.

NBC Trumped Up Claims of Hacking at Sochi Olympics -- NBC ran a shocking report about Internet security at the Sochi Olympics, where reporter Richard Engel demonstrated how an Android phone and a MacBook (which he ripped out of the box like an angry gorilla) were hacked the second he connected them to a network. Errata Security has pointed out that the story was completely fabricated. The piece was filmed in Moscow, not Sochi; Engel deliberately installed the malware; and the hacks shown could have occurred anywhere in the world. The moral of the story? Don’t turn to NBC for security advice (or unboxing instructions).

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Apple Buys Back $14 Billion of Stock in Two Weeks -- Apple’s stock fell 8 percent after it reported its most recent quarterly results, and the company took advantage by buying back $14 billion of its own shares. “It means that we are betting on Apple. It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do,” CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal. He also confirmed new product categories for 2014, saying, “There will be new categories. We’re not ready to talk about it, but we’re working on some really great stuff.”

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How Close Steve Jobs Was to Sony -- It’s well-known that Steve Jobs was an admirer of Sony — even his famous black mock-turtleneck and Levi’s 501 ensemble was inspired by Sony uniforms — but Tokyo-based IT journalist Nobuyuki Hayashi has revealed some new information on how close the Apple co-founder was to the Japanese company. Jobs regularly visited Sony co-founder Akio Morita, and the two men had a mutual admiration of each other. Jobs was so impressed with the Sony VAIO laptops that he tried to convince Sony to adopt Mac OS X for them in 2001. Jobs even gave Sony the idea to build a GPS into its Cyber-shot cameras.

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Even North Korea Is Copying Apple -- Bad news for Microsoft — North Korea doesn’t even want to copy Windows anymore. The latest version of Red Star OS, the nation’s official Linux distribution, now bears a striking resemblance to Mac OS X, as opposed to earlier versions that mimicked the Windows interface. Of course, no North Korean operating system would be complete without propaganda, such as setting the year to 103 — the number of years since Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, was born.

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Satya Nadella Becomes Microsoft’s New CEO -- Microsoft has announced that Satya Nadella has replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO of the company. The 46-year-old Nadella has been with the company since 1992, most recently as executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Founder Bill Gates will also be stepping down as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors to take a more hands-on role as an advisor, “supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

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