Microsoft Buying Parent of ZeniMax; Amazon Goes to Echelon for Prime Bike; Apple PCs & Tablets #1 With Consumers; Nikola Founder Resigns-Fraud Allegations

Microsoft will acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of studio Bethesda Softworks. Theverge.com notes that they are the maker of Doom and Fallout. Microsoft will now gain control of new games like the upcoming space epic Starfield. Future games like Starfield will launch on Xbox Game Pass the day they come to Xbox and PC. Even with the purchase, there are still a couple of Playstation 5 and PC exclusives….Deathloop and Ghostwire:Tokyo. Microsoft will honor those deals, but in the future, they say games will come to non-Xbox platforms on a ‘case by case’ basis. The next gen Xboxes drop November 10th.

Amazon has tapped Echelon to build and sell it’s Prime Bike. According to techcrunch.com, it’s almost a clone of the $1900 Peloton bike, only without the screen. The price? $500 from Amazon. Walmart has the same unit, except with different branding, of course. Echelon makes other bikes and fitness equipment…including a couple smart bikes that DO feature video screens. One runs $999 and the other is $1199. Sans screen, the Prime bike is only 80 lbs, compared to the 135 lb. Peloton. Since the bike has a book/tablet rest, you could actually do Peloton classes via their app on your tablet. By the way, if you prefer Walmart, it’ $500 there as well…under the name Connect Sport Bike.

Apple Macs and iPads continue to rule in customer satisfaction for 2020, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Macrumors.com shows that PCs overall get a 78% satisfaction rate. Macs make 82%, Samsung has 81, Acer 78, Amazon 78, and ASUS is 77%. When you drill down to just tablets, Samsung and Apple are tied. The rankings closely track the cell phone satisfaction rate. Both Apple and Samsung have had high and stable rates the last 5 years for PCs, tablets, and cell phones. For value, Samsung rates best in class among all PC makers.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton haas resigned as executive chairman, 10 days after it came out that the Nikola One wasn’t really fully functional as claimed when he rolled it out in 2016. Arstechnica.com reports that the stock has plunged over 18%. Apparently the Nikola One truck that appeared to be driving down a highway under its own power in a promo video in 2018 was faked, too…the truck was rolling down hill. The company acknowledged last week that it had never gotten the thing to work. The beans were spilled by short-seller Hindenburg Research. Now, the DOJ and SEC are investigating possible fraud. Nikola has appointed former GM etc Stephen Girsky as chairman. Mark Russell will remain CEO. Nikola has moved on to other products anyway, and i working to bring the Nikola Two and Nikola Tre big rigs to market, as well as the Badger pickup. There IS a functioning prototype of the Nikola Two, and since the company has now partnered with GM, Bosch, and Iveco, the newer product will likely make it to market. As we reported here earlier, GM will actually build the Badger pickup and provide design help, as well as the powertrain.



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