Weekend Roundup: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Steps Down; Musk Talks

You made it to the weekend! Before you unplug for a few days (you are planning on stepping away from that computer, right?), let’s check in on some of the biggest tech stories of the week, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s momentous decision, as well as a fascinating interview with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Steps Down

This week, Jeff Bezos announced that he would step down from his longtime role of Amazon CEO. He’ll remain Executive Chair of the Amazon Board, where he’ll focus his energies “on new products and early initiatives,” according to an email sent to employees. Amazon Web Services head Andy Jassy (who joined Amazon in 1997) will take the CEO seat. 

In stepping down at the relatively young age of 57, Bezos is echoing the career path of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who resigned the CEO role in January 2000 to pursue philanthropy and other projects. Bezos has a multitude of other interests, including Blue Origin (a spaceflight company) and The Washington Post

Bezos is also stepping down at an auspicious moment for Amazon. The company racked up a record $125.6 billion in sales for the fourth quarter, with profits of $7.2 billion. It’s also pushing into a variety of online and real-world arenas, from cloud services to publishing. At the same time, it’s also faces potential antitrust action from governments and protests over its labor practices from workers. If Jassy wants to keep the momentum going, he’ll face considerable challenges.

More Apple VR Rumors

When Apple finally rolls out its long-rumored augmented-reality/virtual-reality (AR/VR) headset, what could the device actually look like? How much will it cost? A new report in The Information offers some possible answers.

For starters, the publication claims that the headset could cost as much as $3,000, making it quite pricey even by Apple standards. Second, the headbands that bind the screen to your face might be interchangeable, just like the Apple Watch bands. On the hardware front, the display will reportedly be 8K resolution, with the device tracking the wearer’s hands via a dozen cameras. 

In an interesting twist, the device may come equipped with LIDAR, which would allow it to gauge the shape of the surrounding room and tailor a VR or AR experience appropriately. The headset will also supposedly lean more toward virtual reality than augmented reality experiences, despite Tim Cook aggressively promoting augmented reality over the past several years

If The Information’s information is correct, we could see an interesting paradigm emerge in 2022, when Apple’s device supposedly hits the street: Apple at the high-end of the nascent AR/VR market, and Facebook’s increasingly cheap Oculus headset on the other. Perhaps the brewing feud between Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, currently over privacy and data, will mutate into an intense battle of words over VR

Tesla’s Mistakes 

It’s rare for a CEO to admit mistakes. But Elon Musk is a rare CEO. Even if you’re not particularly interested in automobile manufacturing (or rockets), you should still tune into Sandy Munro’s fascinating interview with him, available on YouTube:

Musk calls some of Munro’s criticisms about Tesla’s build quality “accurate.” He then goes into describing the issues with come with a production ramp-up, as well as how Tesla has iterated its vehicles over the years. If you’re curious about how things get made, it’s a fascinating glimpse into how a company produces ultra-complicated products at scale. 

Stay safe, everyone! And have a great weekend!