Tech 2.0 for Monday, July 1, 2013

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 7/01/2013 7:37 pm


Zynga says its CEO, Mark Pincus, is stepping down to be replaced by Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft's Xbox business. The maker of "FarmVille" and other games said Monday that Pincus, who founded Zynga in 2007, will stay on as chairman and chief product officer. Mattrick has served as the president of Microsoft's entertainment business, which includes the Xbox, since 2010. He's been with Microsoft for six years. Mattrick faces a difficult task. Zynga's stock is down sharply since the company's 2011 initial public offering. Its games have waned in popularity and it announced in June that it was cutting 520 jobs, or about 18 percent of its workforce to save money. Zynga shares soared nearly 15 percent to $3.19 in after-hours trading.

Yahoo is making another small acquisition as part of the Internet company's effort to make more compelling applications for smartphones and tablet computers. The latest deal brings the technology and expertise of Silicon Valley startup Bignoggins Productions to Yahoo Inc.'s line-up of services for fantasy sports leagues. Bignoggins, started three years ago in San Jose, Calif., by Jerry Shen, is the maker of popular mobile-device apps like "Fantasy Monster" and "Draft Monster." Those apps are no longer distributed, but the technology underlying them is used in Yahoo's own services. As with most of the Sunnyvale, Calif., company's recent acquisitions, Yahoo didn't disclose the financial terms. The 30-year-old Shen is the only Bignoggins employee joining Yahoo. He will be based at Yahoo's California headquarters.

Eleven Idaho schools will share a $3 million state grant to test technology in the classroom, everything from using Apple iPads to capture students' attention to giving Lenovo laptops to high school kids to help them build skills to attend college. The awards were announced Monday by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna after the technology pilot program was approved by the 2013 Legislature. After voters rejected Luna's education overhaul last year, this was envisioned as a more-modest alternative to test classroom technology projects with the potential to be expanded to other Idaho schools. Luna pledged Monday to broaden projects from these efforts, after determining the most promising ones. In all, his office had received $19.5 million worth of proposals from dozens of schools wanting a share of the cash.
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