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Social gaming company Zynga has named former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick as chief executive.
Mark Pincus, the company's founder and current CEO, said he will stay on as chairman and chief product officer.
"Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential," said Mr Mattrick in an email to employees.
At Microsoft, Mr Mattrick was head of interactive entertainment, the key division that includes Xbox, which is about to launch a new console.
Don Mattrick's decision to quit Microsoft follows a bruising E3 tech show last month.
It was bad enough that the Xbox One was undercut on price by the PlayStation 4, but the Canadian executive also found himself mocked for introducing restrictions on second-hand games and insisting players log onto the net at least once a day.
His attempt at damage control only made matters worse. Saying that those wanting an offline mode could still buy the last-generation Xbox 360 was branded "ridiculous" by one news site and even led to claims he had "single-handedly alienated the entire military".
When Mr Mattrick blogged details of a U-turn one week later, traffic to the webpage was so great it temporarily became inaccessible.
Despite these recent troubles, Mr Mattrick can take credit for having helped Microsoft outsell Sony in the US and UK for the current console generation.
Moving to Zynga offers him a fresh start, but joining a firm that has recently cancelled games, lost top talent, cut jobs and seen sales drop off means the pressure on him is unlikely to ease.
Before that, he helped develop popular games like "The Sims" and "FIFA" for Electronic Arts.
"I've always said… that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I'd do all I could to recruit and bring that person in," said Mr Pincus in a separate email to staff.
"I'm confident that Don is that leader."
Shares in the company, which are down by more than 50% for the year, shot up once word of the leadership change was first broken by the website AllThingsD.com.
At Microsoft, Mr Mattrick helped turn the Xbox business into a profitable venture after years of losses. His departure comes just as Microsoft prepares to launch a new version of the console, the Xbox One.
Gamers have attacked the high price, Microsoft's plan to require an internet connection at least once a day and attempts to limit the sharing of used games.
Last month, Microsoft reversed its position on the Internet connection and said it would allow game sharing.
The search for the next Farmville
Zynga has had difficulty almost since its stock market debut in December 2011, when it was valued at $1bn (£656bn). News of the appointment sent Zynga shares more than 10% higher.
Struggling to replicate the success it found with games like FarmVille and Words With Friends, it bought OMGPOP, the company behind the popular game Draw Something, for $200m (£131m) in March of 2012. It shut OMGPOP less than a year later.
Mobile has also proven challenging for the company, which used to rely on its close ties with Facebook for users.
"The gaming market is an especially tough one, particularly as user behaviour shifts dramatically towards gaming on phones and tablets," said Clark Fredricksen, of eMarketer. "It's a world of hit-makers and miss-hits."
Recently the company has looked to online gambling as another revenue stream, but that has not yet had an impact on the bottom line. More than 20% of its staff has been let go in the past year, and it has shuttered several offices.
Mr Pincus is the second high profile founder of a social media company to resign, following Groupon chief executive Andrew Mason's departure in February.
Jan 07, 2013 03:09 am | PC World
The highly portable Wireless Plus drive offers high-capacity storage that targets on-the-go tablet and mobile phone users.
by Melissa J. Perenson
Seagate emphasizes wireless storage with new drives announced today at International CES that are aimed at mobile and living room use.
The highly portable Wireless Plus drive offers high-capacity storage that targets on-the-go tablet and mobile phone users. The Central is designed to complement PCs, mobile devices, and Smart TVs (starting with Samsung's).
The $200 Wireless Plus drive, available immediately, is actually the long-overdue follow-on to Seagate's GoFlex Satellite that was first introduced a year and a half-ago.
That drive suffered from often-frustrating software and a chunky size, two flaws that Seagate has now addressed with this second-generation drive. The new drive is slightly slimmer and more stylish, but still has an integrated battery (rated for up to 10 hours of use) and a DLNA- and AirPlay-capable wireless hotspot.
Based on my sneak-peek at the redesigned software, the usage experience is poised to be much smoother with this wireless drive.
Another boon: The new drive doubles capacity to 1TB, which means you'll have enough space for up to 500 high-definition movies. The drive works in conjunction with the mobile Seagate Media apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. Seagate also has an app designed for Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. And this time around, you can actually save content to the drive from a mobile device, which can be convenient for content creators moving between tablet and laptop, for example.
Seagate's new Central drive
That Smart TV app ties into Seagate's other noteworthy CES launch, the Seagate Central drive. With a sleek, horizontal box design that's designed to look, if not fit well, in a living room, the Central is a single-drive, network-attached storage box for householding multi-computer and device backups and content sharing from a single, centralized source.
The Central is designed to work smoothly with both Windows and Mac OS X, and handles continuous backup chores in the background, along with backing up photos and videos directly from Facebook.
The Central ships in March and will be available in 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB varieties (priced at $190, $320, and $260, respectively).
For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.
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