Larry Ellison is stepping down as Oracle’s CEO. The surprise shift is effectively immediately. Ellison, who founded the company, becomes executive chairman of the board and chief technology officer. Two Oracle executives—Safra Catz and Mark Hurd—will jointly fill his slot as CEO in an unorthodox corporate governance arrangement.
The Islamic State releases a video of a captive British journalist. In a roughly three-minute video posted on social media sites, a man identified himself on-camera as John Cantlie, a reporter who had worked for the Sunday Times, the Sun, and the Sunday Telegraph. In the video, he promises to “convey some facts” about the Sunni Muslim extremist group in future videos to counter Western portrayals.
Alibaba is teeing up. The Chinese e-commerce giant priced shares at $68 in its IPO, which could raise a record-setting $25 billion, with a $165 billion valuation. The shares will begin trading under the ticker “BABA” on the New York Stock Exchange Friday.
Health workers treating Ebola were murdered in Guinea. Eight people, including three doctors and three journalists from a missing team of health workers, were found dead near a village in southeast Guinea near where the Ebola outbreak began. The reason for the killings is not known, but villagers have reportedly been distrustful of health workers during the crisis, which has claimed more than 2,600 victims in West Africa.
Microsoft fires 2,100 employees. This is the second round of layoffs in a long-term plan announced in July to cut 18,000 jobs, or 14% of the company’s total workforce. The housecleaning is an attempt to streamline after the April acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services division, which added 25,000 employees to the Microsoft payroll.
A slew of new Kindles. Amazon announced the release of six new or upgraded devices, including a $199 high-end e-reader and a $79 touch-screen tablet. The luxe version, the thinnest-ever e-reader that mimics paper books, is aimed at heavy readers; the low-end version targets nascent e-reader markets like China, Japan, and Germany. The devices begin shipping in October, in time for the holiday rush.
Early Eurasians were a randy bunch. A “sexually prolific” group from what is now northern Russia mated with hunter-gatherers and indigenous farmers to give rise to modern-day Europeans, according to new DNA analysis.