Character counts, but our system only counts words. Today there are 1,280 of them, a 5 minute read.
With all the leaks ahead of Microsoft's hardware event Wednesday, it was hard to imagine the company had many surprises left to share. But, oh, did it.
Yes, the company launched the expected Surface laptop and a pair of Surface Pro tablet/phone hybrids. But it also previewed 2 other devices due out next year that few were expecting.
Why it matters: The move shows a new commitment to devices that run Microsoft's software and services above and beyond the firm's commitment to Windows. That thinking, which would have been heretical in years past, is a hallmark of the Satya Nadella era. (Recall that one of Nadella's first moves as CEO was to preside over the launch of Office for the iPad.)
The bigger picture: There's a lot to unpack beyond just the devices, some of which won't be available until next year anyway.
History lesson: As many were quick to point out, the debut of a dual-screen device has been more than a decade in the making. Under Robby Bach, Microsoft's entertainment and devices unit cooked up a concept called Courier. Steve Ballmer killed the project amid strong objections from the Windows team.
History lesson #2: As far fewer remember, this isn't the first marriage of Microsoft and Android.
The bottom line: Microsoft showed it continues to think outside the box with its hardware line, but the company has some big hurdles to overcome if it wants its most innovative devices to be successful.
Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for THR
Melinda Gates announced in Time Magazine on Wednesday that she is committing $1 billion over the next 10 years to promote gender equality and grow "women's power and influence in the United States," as Axios' Rashaan Ayesh reports.
What she's saying: "Gender equality in the U.S. has been chronically underfunded. ... $1 billion is a lot of money, but I also recognize that it’s only a small fraction of what's necessary. That's why I hope the financial commitment I'm making today is seen as both a vote of confidence in the experts and advocates who are already working on these issues — and an invitation for others to join the cause and make commitments of their own."
"Equality can't wait, and no one in a position to act should either."— Melinda Gates
The resources will be allocated toward 3 goals:
Melinda Gates told me in an interview earlier this year that she initially eschewed a focus on women's issues, seeing it as one of the "soft" areas typically reserved for female philanthropists.
Driving the news: Gates said she realized that women's issues were actually the key to the other areas that she is passionate about: global health, education and economic equality.
"If you invest in a woman we totally know from great research she invests in everybody else. ... She not only lifts her kids and her family but she lifts up her community, which lifts up society, which lifts up her country."— Melinda Gates
Similarly, contraception turns out to be not just a women's issue, but the key to a country's overall economic empowerment. No country in the last 50 years has made the transition from low income to middle income without allowing access to birth control, Gates said.
"Contraceptives are the greatest anti-poverty tool we have in the world. More than 90% of U.S. women use them. We believe in them and we should make sure that all women have access," Gates said during an interview during the San Francisco leg the tour for her book: The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.
Why now? While both she and Bill Gates have generally stayed out of partisan U.S. politics, Melinda Gates chose to speak out after the Trump administration proposed to gut funding for contraception globally.
"When I saw a budget come out from the administration that proposed extraordinarily few resources for contraceptives around the world, I believe so fundamentally in that issue, I knew I had to speak out and I did and I have ever since then."— Melinda Gates
Photo: Taylor Hill/WireImage
Apple is no stranger to the Supreme Court, having spoken out on a number of issues about which it feels strongly, ranging from patents to LGBTQ rights.
But on Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook put his name to a friend of the court brief for the first time, making a passionate defense of so-called Dreamers, those protected from deportation by an order established during the Obama administration. The Trump administration wants to end the protection, with the matter now before the Supreme Court.
Why it matters: Corporate leaders are increasingly a moral voice in American politics, speaking out to represent the interests and desires of their employees — and a rising moral imperative.
The bottom line: Tech companies — especially Microsoft and Apple — have walked a fine line here, working with the government in some areas while strongly opposing some policies — particularly around immigration and LGBTQ rights.
Go deeper: You can read more about the case, and peruse Apple's brief for yourself, here.
Here's John Legend playing piano with his year-old son, Miles.