Micro Files

<strong>Instagram, Weibo searches blocked in China and FireChat takes off</strong>

<em>BBC </em>reports that Instagram and Weibo (a Chinese social networking platform) photo searches including the terms &ldquo;Occupy Central&rdquo; and &ldquo;Hong Kong students&rdquo; are being blocked.

<em>BBC</em>&rsquo;s Beijing bureau was able to confirm the blockage of the terms. The Chinese government has already banned Facebook, Twitter, Google services (Google Maps, Gmail, Google+, YouTube), and search terms that it considers politically sensitive. Instagram confirmed reports that users were having difficulty accessing its services and that they were &ldquo;looking into it,&rdquo; according to <em>PCWorld</em>.&nbsp;

Student activist leader Joshua Wong encouraged protestors to download FireChat, a messenging app that uses Bluetooth wireless signals over radio waves instead of an internet connection, to communicate. FireChat broadcasts messages to people in the area that also have the app installed. Messages are not protected and can be read by anyone in the vicinity with the app, <em>Tech in Asia</em> and <em>BBC</em> report. Over 100,000 downloads occurred in Honk Kong after Wong&rsquo;s post, with over 33,000 Hong Kong users clocking in simultaneously.

<strong>eBay and PayPal to split</strong>

Bay Inc, the parent company of eBay and PayPal, has announced the split of its two services in 2015 on Sept. 30. eBay bought out PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion.

&ldquo;For more than a decade eBay and PayPal have mutually benefited from being part of one company, creating substantial shareholder value. However, a thorough strategic review with our board shows that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively,&rdquo; CEO John Donahoe said.

&nbsp;&ldquo;The industry landscape is changing, and each business faces different competitive opportunities and challenges.&rdquo;

The Board of Directors concluded that the &ldquo;benefits of the existing relationships between eBay and PayPal will naturally decline over time.&rdquo; Investor Carl Icahn called PayPal a &ldquo;jewel&rdquo; and said that &ldquo;eBay is covering up its value.&rdquo;

<em>Forbes</em> cited increased competition from Alibaba&rsquo;s Alipay and Apple Pay to be factors that could &ldquo;change the entire payment game.&rdquo;

PayPal co-founder Elon Musk also cited his concern for PayPal should it have remained part of eBay: &ldquo;[PayPal] will get cut to pieces by Amazon Payments or by other systems like Apple and by start-ups if it continues to be part of eBay&hellip; It will either wither or be spun out.&rdquo;

PayPal is expected to hit a market cap of $100 billion by former COO David Sacks.

<strong>Windows 10 brings back start menu</strong>

Microsoft has announced Windows 8&rsquo;s successor, Windows 10. Skipping over the Windows 9 name, Microsoft gave a sneak peak of Windows 10 Sept. 30, <em>BBC</em> reported.

Windows 10 marks the return of the start menu, a feature that Windows 8 took away. The revamped start menu will feature resizable tiles to the right with links to their respective applications. It will also feature notifications from email, social media, and weather forecasts. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 is not planning to have a touch mode and a desktop mode.

David Johnson, a Microsoft consultant at the firm Forrester, said that the start menu is &ldquo;critically important&rdquo; to Windows 10 being adopted by more desktop PCs.

&ldquo;The start menu is perhaps the most important thing that will make the desktop experience familiar to business users, and will help it reduce resistance to its installation,&rdquo; Johnson said. About 20 per cent of enterprises offer Windows 8 to their employees, according to Johnson, with Windows 7 currently being the standard.

Across all desktops, over 50 per cent use Windows 7 as their operating system, with nearly 24 per cent running Windows XP. Only 13.4 per cent run Windows 8. Net Applications reports almost seven per cent use Apple&rsquo;s OS X and three per cent use Windows Vista.

Developers will begin to have early access to the new operating system in October, with Microsoft planning to roll it out to consumers before the end of 2015.


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