Microsoft Surface Book, EU Safe Harbor, Twitter CEO - The Wrap

IDG News Service | Oct 8, 2015

Microsoft's Surface Book turns heads, EU invalidates Safe Harbor and Jack Dorsey is Twitter's new CEO. Follow host Nick Barber on Twitter @nickjb.

Microsoft debuts a convertible and Twitter has an official leader.
Here's your tech top 3 and what you need to know this week.
Microsoft turned heads with its new Surface Book its first convertible tablet-laptop. It has a 13 and a half inch, 3K screen that can dock and undock easily. It folds in half using a special hinge and in the keyboard base houses a discrete GPU, something unique for convertibles. Microsoft said it's twice as powerful as a Macbook Pro and it starts at 1500 dollars.
The EU Court of Justice invalidated the Safe Harbor agreement, impacting 4,000 US companies that accept personal data from the EU. Safe Harbor is a self regulatory measure that promises that customer data doesn't leave the company in control of it. While US companies aren't bound by EU laws, they may find themselves losing business from EU customers. The US secretary of commerce and EU counterparts are working to make sure individuals are protected in the interim.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is back as the company's CEO and is tasked with fixing sluggish user growth. It will be a challenge for Dorsey who is also CEO of payments company Square and serves on the Disney board. Dorsey said the pace of product development needs to quicken and he'll also need to create a path to profitability.
In focus this week we take a closer look at Microsoft's new Lumia 950XL flagship smartphone. It's the first of the company's phones running Windows 10 Mobile. The attraction to the phone is less about the hardware specs, which include a 5.7" screen and a 20 megapixel camera that's supposed to be great in low light-but more about the software. What impressed me was that the phone can dock to a larger monitor and a keyboard and mouse through its UBS C connection. The only additional hardware you need is a hub to plug into. In a demo this week, we saw the phone acting like a full PC, handling transparent PNGs inside of Powerpoint. This is certainly a leg up on the competition, but it could take a while to become really attractive. Chances are you already have a desktop, laptop or tablet and unless they need replacing, the phone-as-computer seems like a bonus, but not essential. Microsoft is in a distant, distant third place in the smartphone race. The fact that it doesn't have popular apps like Snapchat or that other ones aren't full featured isn't helping. There is hope for Microsoft though as they've been able to pull off a transformation before. Look at its tablet business, which went from a joke to a billion dollar money maker in 3 years. Its phones business will have to fight a much harder battle because Android and iOS have such a head start. I'm Nick Barber and that's a wrap.