I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.
Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of Minecraft, explaining why he sold his company and why he won’t be involved going forward — which, perhaps, shouldn’t be surprising at all.

As expected, Microsoft has announced the massive $2.5B acquisition. And good for them for saying they’ll continue to support all the platforms the game currently supports, including PlayStation, Android, and iOS (though, notably, Mojang itself seems to do quite a bit more hedging in their statement — saying, basically, everything is always subject to change). 

What I don’t understand is why people think this deal doesn’t make sense. It makes a ton of sense. Microsoft already has a history of doing this type of deal with Bungie amongst others. That deal made the Xbox. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that without Halo, the Xbox would have failed. 

But more importantly, I fully agree with John Lily’s take the other day: this is about access to the next generation of makers (developers, tinkerers, etc). More than once, I’ve been in a random place in a random part of the world and seen a kid glued to their phone playing Minecraft. 

That phone, of course, was not a Windows Phone. And it’s probably too much to hope that now it will be — that battle has long been fought and lost, even if Microsoft won’t admit it yet. But if Microsoft is thinking about this the right way, this should be about more than phones.

I’m just shocked they beat Lego, now the largest toy maker in the world, to this deal.

Nathaniel Popper:

JPMorgan Chase’s chief financial officer, Marianne Lake, took the stage at a financial conference on Tuesday under strict orders not to mention her company’s involvement in Apple’s new payment system.

But when Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, at a news conference in California at the same time, finally brought up Apple Pay, one of Ms. Lake’s deputies in New York took a green apple out of her bag and put it on a table on the stage, signaling that Ms. Lake was free to discuss the service.

Subtle. In other tradecraft:

From the beginning, the project was top secret, with what one person involved called a “code name frenzy.” The card companies had code names for Apple and Apple for the card companies. At Visa, the code name was another consumer electronics company, chosen to avert attention from employees who were not involved. Visa soon had about a thousand people on the team.

Would love to know which other consumer electronics company was served up as the red herring.

All in all, pretty amazing how much pull Apple proved to have over another massive industry. That’s was being the most valuable company in world gets you, I suppose.

Ian Kar:

During in-store transactions, Apple will be passing the cryptogram and token to merchants via NFC, and Apple will be paying a “card present” rate in NFC purchases, Lambert confirmed to Bank Innovation. However, when using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), presumably how the iPhone 5 and 5S will do payments, or when making an in-app purchase using Apple Pay, the transaction fee will be the equivalent to a “card-not-present” rate.

Interesting tidbit. And it again points to why Apple is using NFC here instead of just doing it over Bluetooth LE, which they had already been using for a while.

Mat Honan on the birth (and death) of the iPod:

But that iPod event—the Apple “music” event—changed everything else that would come after, for Apple and the rest of us, too. Because like Steve Jobs said that day, with his dad jeans on, “you can fit your whole music library in your pocket. Never before possible.”

Holy. Shit.

The iPod (the click wheel one) was the first Apple product I ever owned. Before that, I was a PC guy all the way. One may even have called me a Microsoft fanboy — true story.

I bought the iPod solely because I was about to drive by myself across the country to move to California. And I needed a way to play back every single song I um, borrowed via Napster in college. That iPod was a gateway drug for me. RIP.

The most sought after feature on the iPhone 6 was a sapphire cover screen and Apple needs to deliver a sapphire covered iPhone sooner rather than later.

Matt Margolis, an analyst with PTT Research, in a new note this week. Margolis is the one who long said the new iPhones would feature such a screen.

Of course, they did not. Which is fine, I’m sure they will one day. But suggesting this was the “most sought after feature” of the iPhone 6 is beyond ridiculous. Most consumer would have no idea there was a difference. Actually, even more ridiculous may be the notion that Apple “needs” to do this. Sometimes, it’s better to just admit you were wrong.

[via AppleInsider]