Our stories this past week about Western Washington University’s proposal to cut its computer science department sparked one of the most lively discussions on GeekWire since our launch. Many readers — including a number of WWU computer science grads — were perplexed that the state university would even consider eliminating the program given the critical need for software engineers in the state. Slashdot picked up the story, and it was also a hot topic of conversation at the Technology Alliance’s annual luncheon in downtown Seattle.

Reader JSug wrote:

This is ridiculous. As a WWU CS grad who regularly contributes both to the university and the department, I’m definitely going to be contacting the office of the provost to find out what the hell is going on.

Our follow-up interview with WWU Provost Catherine Riordan drove additional commentary, with several readers claiming that Riordan was out of touch. Geofrey Sanders wrote:

“She waffled so much, syrup came out of my monitor.”

Steve Newman added:

If the CS department is failing to meet the needs of the state, be specific as to why and fix those problems. Every program at Western should be held to that standard. No department should need to be threatened with elimination simply to drive home the above point. Identify the core needs of the State, establish the departments that best meet that need and invest in and empower the department heads to achieve those objectives. Delivering high quality graduates in Computer Science is a clear need so I would prefer to discuss the specific issues of poor performance and get the department where it needs to be.

Stories and discussion: Western Washington University computer science department faces the ax despite tech worker shortage

Western Washington Provost: Computer science department needs to step up to the future


Microsoft’s $8.5 billion buyout of Skype polarized readers, with some thinking it was a good strategic fit while others thought Microsoft paid too much.

Reader Kevin Morrill noted:

Would be shocked if this ends up benefiting shareholders. My vote would have been issuing a special dividend and let investors spend the money on a Skype IPO if it was so great. Microsoft already has so many of these technologies and a larger user base in Live Messenger.

Others were a bit more bullish, including Sclark:

Kudos to MSFT. This purchase allows them to constructively use dead cash that otherwise would face a 35% tax rate to bring home. It is synergistic across multiple businesses for improved market share. And it provides a disruptive killer app for the Win phone. Genius move. I look forward to seeing Skype embedded in my next Windows machine running Office/Outlook including a Win tablet.

Stories and discussion: Poll: Is Microsoft’s Skype acquisition a smart move?

It’s official: Microsoft adds new ‘Skype Division’ in $8.5B deal

Skype and Kinect could be Microsoft’s new killer combo


Sergey Brin offered some cutting remarks about Microsoft at the Google I/O conference this past week, saying that it had a “flawed model.” Several readers objected, including Gail Klockner who wrote:

The ‘don’t worry, we will take care of you’ mantra of Google creeps me out. Sorry Sergey but your computing ideas are scary and I think a threat to my liberty at some level.

And that wasn’t the only Google story where a reader felt creeped out. Darren G. Austin raised privacy concerns over a new intelligent LED lightbulb that uses the Android operating system.

AndroidCE. Anybody feeling me on this? Also, do I really want Google collecting metrics on how efficiently I use electricity in my home? Cool product but these guys creep me out.

Full stories and discussion: Google’s Brin to Windows users: Stop torturing yourselves

This bulb is pretty brilliant: How Google wants to light up the home, starting with a light


Thanks again to everyone for reading and commenting on GeekWire.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

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