Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we cover eBay’s planned spin-off of PayPal, the announcement of Windows 10, and the rise of Ello.
eBay to spin off PayPal in 2015
On Tuesday, eBay announced that it will spin off PayPal into a separate, publicly-traded company in 2015. This was a 180-degree turn for eBay’s leadership, as they’ve been arguing with activist investor Carl Icahn for months that the company would be stronger with PayPal intact.
Strategically, the spin-off makes a lot of sense.
The move allows eBay to solely focus on growing their e-commerce platform and operate more efficiently without the distraction of a very different mobile payments business. But eBay faces a daunting task, because 1) the company can no longer depend on the faster-growing PayPal unit to fuel growth, and 2) they’ve struggled to hold on to market share against the likes of Amazon and other e-commerce upstarts.
PayPal will have much more flexibility to forge e-commerce partnerships and compete more aggressively in the constantly changing mobile payments space without an additional layer of management. A first-mover in online payments, PayPal has trailed a bit in mobile payments, with companies like Square, Stripe, Google, and Apple all making big moves in the arena.
This is a huge move and both companies certainly have a lot to prove.
Microsoft announces Windows 10
Microsoft announced Windows 10, the one Microsoft platform to rule them all. The company completely skipped Windows 9 for some reason no one knows.
The company states on its blog that “Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows.” Windows 10 will be completely cross-platform – it will run on PCs, smartphones, wearables, and even on enterprise servers and XBox – with a custom experience tailored for each.
Major changes include the return of the beloved Start menu and taskbar and one Windows Store for apps for tablets, phones, PCs and whatever platform with which customers work.
With the debacle that Windows 8 was, Microsoft needed to go big with Windows 10, and it looks like they did.
Ello, the anti-Facebook, takes the Internet by storm
In late September, Facebook suspended access for users who don’t use their real name on their profiles, which included drag performers named Lil Miss Hot Mess and Sister Roma in San Francisco. Subsequently, members of the LGBT community protested against the social network – physically at their offices and digitally by flocking to Ello.
Ello, which calls Facebook an ad network, not a social network, has clearly benefited. The site claims it handles about 50,000 invite requests per hour.
Ello was created in 2013 by CEO Paul Budnitz because he was sick of existing social networks’ constant stream of advertisements and wanted to build a site for a small group of friends. An ad-free social network has been tried before (see Diaspora) but none has garnered the hype and growth of Ello.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.