Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

19 Dec 2014

Ten nuggets of knowledge to take away for the weekend, including new EU VAT rules for digital goods to create a level playing field, students told STEM is here to stay, and Irish businesses at home in the cloud.

1. New VAT rules create a level playing field for start-ups and SMEs, says Revenue

The new EU VAT rules on the sale of digital goods actually create a level playing field for start-ups to compete against multinationals, Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners has said.

On 1 January new VAT rules that will only affect providers of digital services, such as telecoms, software and streaming, will come into effect.

The VAT for digital downloads will be based on the customer’s country of residence instead of being the same across all EU territories.

Responding to claims by start-ups that the new rules will be too onerous to implement for small companies, the Revenue Commissioners said that start-ups and SMEs will be able to compete fairly against larger e-commerce giants who up till now benefited from low 3pc VAT rates in locations like Luxembourg.

2. STEM is here to stay, students and parents told ahead of CAO deadline

With the CAO deadline of 1 February looming, Science Foundation Ireland has urged students and their parents to consider the broad spectrum of career and life opportunities STEM offers.

3. Enterprises in Ireland very much at home in the cloud, reports CSO

Close to one-third of Irish enterprises (28pc) that employ more than 10 people purchased cloud services, compared with the EU average of 19pc, according to new research by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

4. 10 CIO insights on the big trends in enterprise for 2015

The top 10 insights from CIOs and their equivalents on the trends that will shape the enterprise in 2015, from new kinds of storage, to BYOD, big data and pushing the needle on change.

5. Mustard gets its €30k cut after winning NDRC Lift Off

Short-term staffing technology player Mustard emerged as the overall winner at the NDRC Lift Off competition last night after battling 12 other start-ups to secure next stage investment of €30,000.

6. Google angered by leaked emails indicating the MPAA wants to resurrect SOPA

Google has expressed deep concern over leaked documents indicating the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is co-ordinating efforts to reignite its campaign to stop online piracy.

7. Instagram culls millions of follower bots: One user drops from 3.6m to 8 #morto

In what nobody is billing ‘The End Of Time’, Instagram took moves yesterday to remove spam bots from its service. The result? Celebrities and others lost a whole load of ‘followers’.

8. Google to install dedicated Android M software into cars in 2015

Despite Android Lollipop just beginning its gradual roll out, search giant Google is already laying the framework for Android M to be built directly into particular brands of cars in 2015.

9. Kepler discovers ‘Super Earth’, but it’s a bit too hot for us humans

The Kepler spacecraft has found the first exoplanet of its K2 mission, and it’s pretty huge.

10. World’s first internet-connected car goes on sale on eBay

Someone with enough change in their pocket can pick up a piece of internet history on eBay after the world’s first internet-connected car has been put up for sale on the site by its creator.

Christmas pudding image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years