Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

With Pulse Following Zite’s Lead, Mark Johnson Talks About News Reading App Landscape

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Earlier this week, I reported that LinkedIn was readying a purchase of Pulse, one of the more popular of the many news reader apps, for upward of $50 million.

By coincidence, only days before, I had done a video interview with Mark Johnson, CEO of
Zite, which was bought by CNN for $20 million in mid-2011.

Since then, the San Francisco-based startup has remained relatively independent, said Johnson, although it’s a delicate balance.

In December, Zite released new versions of its Apple iPhone and iPad apps that aggregate a variety of content, expanding its offerings to more than 40,000 interest topics for its magazine-style offering.

The redesign got a lot of criticism, including from Katherine Boehret, and some of the changes were rolled back.

In any case, here’s my interview with Johnson, which touches on a number of topics, including what it’s like to get bought (pay attention, Pulse guys!):


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik