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The Weekender: creating Cortana, skewering startups, and capitalizing on conflict

The Weekender: creating Cortana, skewering startups, and capitalizing on conflict


The best of the week gone by

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Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Every Saturday, we'll bring you some of the best and most important reads of the past seven days, from original reports, to in-depth features, to reviews and interviews. Think of it as a collection of some of our favorite pieces that you may have missed — or that you may just want to read again. You can follow along below, or keep up to date on Flipboard.

  • Feature

    Driven: how Zipcar's founders built and lost a car-sharing empire

    Zipcar wouldn't have existed without founders Antje Danielson and Robin Chase, but they've had nothing to do with the company since just a few years after it began. Here's the inside story of how fighting for power and fighting with each other led to both founders to losing Zipcar altogether.

  • Review

    'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' review

    Captain American may now be in the modern day, but The Winter Soldier is a total throwback to '70s-style conspiracy thrillers. It's a big change from the last film, but it may be just what Marvel needs to keep its superhero series interesting.

  • Report

    Outfoxed: how protests forced Mozilla's CEO to resign in 11 days

    Brendan Eich may have co-founded Mozilla, but a decade and a half later, he no longer fit in with it. Eich's support of California's same-sex marriage ban in 2008 meant that he didn't have the same values as much of his company — and many of Mozilla's employees and in its community just wouldn't accept that.

  • Review

    Amazon Fire TV review

    Just about every big tech company wants to control the little black box beneath your TV, and Amazon may have the best pitch yet. The Fire TV offers access to tons of games, movies, and TV shows, and it makes it all easy to find too.

  • Report

    NASA's breakup with Russia is a manipulative money grab

    NASA cut off ties with Russia this week citing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but the agency's decision was really about something much different. NASA hasn't seen much money in recent years, and it's hoping that lawmakers would rather keep money at home then send it abroad at a time of growing conflict.

  • Review

    If you play one goat simulator in 2014, make it this one

    Goat Simulator is at once exactly and nothing what it sounds like. You play a goat, you run around, you headbutt stuff. You also get a jetpack, wreck total havoc, and totally break the game in the process. It's bizarre, glitchy, and destructive fun.

  • Review

    Mike Judge's 'Silicon Valley' hits the tech world where it hurts

    The creator of Office Space and Beavis and Butt-head is training his distinctive brand of humor on the startup scene. There hasn't been a good take on the scene yet, but Silicon Valley may just crack the code with a smart mix of insider jokes and broad appeal.

  • Report

    Round two: Apple and Samsung suit up for another billion dollar patent war

    Apple and Samsung are heading to court again for a second patent trial that's bound to be as explosive as the last. Now the two companies are battling over some of their hottest phones ever — but there's one key difference that could help Samsung's prospects this time around: Google.

  • Report

    Facebook becomes the new front in Mexico's drug war

    Mexican cartels have started turning to social media to get their messages out — and so far, it's working. Not only has news of deaths and killings spread quickly online, but it's also begun prompting serious acts of retaliation.

  • Report

    The story of Cortana, Microsoft's Siri killer

    Microsoft is finally joining Apple and Google in unveiling a digital personal assistant of its own to help people use their smartphones. But for Microsoft, building its assistant, Cortana, wasn't just a matter of figuring out who she was — it was about turning Bing into a powerful platform that could make it all work.