Allen vs. Gates and Ballmer, Amazon Takes on Apple, Intellectual Ventures Whips Up a Market, & More in the Seattle-Area Tech Roundup

4/5/11Follow @curtwoodward

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run on iPhones, Android devices and back-end infrastructure. They’re trying to make game development even faster—which I didn’t know was actually a problem—at a time when Nintendo’s president is saying that quick and inexpensive casual games are a real threat to the premium gaming industry.

Xconomy had some news to spread about itself, on two fronts: We’ve officially opened a New York bureau, with veteran business journalist Arlene Weintraub at the helm to report the latest on tech startups, venture capital, and all things innovative from the Big Apple. Here in Seattle, we welcomed Omri Mor, a super-sharp UW student who will be helping us build audience engagement as our social media marketing intern.

Cheezburger Network went all in with the hiring stunts, setting up shop outside a big Amazon company meeting at KeyArena to hand out Dick’s burgers (and Top Pot doughnuts) along with job-opening flyers and business cards. They said they weren’t trying to recruit actual Amazon employees—just get recommended to any Amazon workers’ friends who might be looking for work. CEO Ben Huh is flush with a recent $30 million venture financing, but may be working against the reputation that Cheezburger does not pay very well in an industry that can offer nice wages—something that Huh blogged about last year by discussing a pair of job openings that advertised wages of $8.55 and $10 per hour. Startup Giant Thinkwell immediately one-upped Huh’s burger stunt by purporting to offer Amazon workers an actual cat for interviewing—plus, their video was even better than my iPhone masterpiece.

Microsoft‘s longtime marketing chief Mich Mathews stepped down—oddly, just one day before word got word that her counterpart at Apple was also leaving. Mutual disarmament? We got a look at the emails that went out to Microsofties about the departure. They were pretty standard examples of the species, although it was interesting to read the recaps of how much the company has grown since Mathews first signed on 22 years ago.

—In the bad-news department, Sony Online Entertainment cut about 200 jobs in the West, including the shuttering of its Bellevue game development office. The Bellevue outpost was a main source for the undelivered spy-shooter game “The Agency,” which Sony also said it was shutting down. It wasn’t clear how many people still worked over at Sony Bellevue at the time. Work from two other offices closed in the restructuring was being migrated to headquarters in San Diego.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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