Tech business week: Smartphones taking over, and a potential EMC buyout

10 Aug 2015

In tech business news this week, smartphones are now the No 1 way we get online, and EMC mulls possible buyout.

Smartphones overtake laptops as No 1 way to access internet

The UK is now a smartphone society, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has proclaimed, as smartphones have officially overtaken laptops as the most popular devices for using the internet.

Two-thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone and use it for nearly two hours a day to browse the internet, access the web and shop online, according to Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report.

According to the report, a third (33pc) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30pc who are still sticking with their laptop.

EMC mulls potential buyout by its own subsidiary VMware

Data storage giant EMC is considering a deal whereby it could be acquired by its cloud and virtualisation subsidiary VMware.

It is one of several options being considered by the data storage company as part of a strategic review.

According to Re/Code, other options on the table include potentially selling to rivals Hewlett-Packard or Cisco, selling off assets, or ploughing ahead and acquiring more companies.

CEO Joe Tucci is under pressure to stabilise the company ahead of the naming of a successor for the CEO role.

Massachusetts-headquartered EMC currently has an 80pc stake in VMware.

Facebook adds Pages Messaging to help businesses connect

People, Facebook says, want communication with businesses to be fast, convenient and efficient, just like their communication with friends. In response, Facebook has introduced Pages Messaging for businesses.

Pages Messaging consists of a raft of new features, designed to offer more ways for customers and businesses to connect.

The first of two main features to be rolled out relates to News Feed-based ads, which will be getting a new call-to-action button, ‘Send Message’.

This enables consumers – as may be self-explanatory – to send a message to a business directly from an ad.

Waterford start-up Sedicii named Tech Pioneer 2015 by WEF

The World Economic Forum has named Waterford start-up Sedicii as its Technology Pioneer 2015 for its Zero Knowledge Proof Protocol technology, which is revolutionising personal security in the digital age.

Sedicii, a previous Start-up of the Week, has developed technology that enables secure authentication by ensuring the correct password or identity attribute has been entered into a user’s device, without ever exposing or transmitting  the password or the concealed personal identity attribute.

Sedicii was chosen by a professional jury among hundreds of candidates as one of the 49 selected companies. Notable members of the committee include Arianna Huffington, founder, Huffington Post, and Henry Blodget, editor-in-chief, Business Insider.

UPC gets ready to storm mobile market, hits 367.3k broadband subscribers

UPC is gearing up to enter the mobile market in Ireland, its CFO said, as the company reported service subscriptions increased by 7,300 in the second quarter to reach 1.1m, up 1pc year-on-year.

UPC announced an MVNO deal with Three Ireland last year and all indications are that its mobile market launch is imminent.

In particular, the move into mobile will free UPC of the constraints of being solely a fixed-line provider and heralds possibilities in the area of mobile broadband, data and cloud, as well as voice communications.

The move will once again up the ante against rival Eircom, which is currently the only provider in the market offering quad-play services incorporating mobile, fixed broadband, voice and TV.

July saw the highest number of start-ups since the end of 2007

July 2015 saw the highest number of start-ups since the end of 2007, with a total of 1,764 new companies formed, according to data from Formations International.

According to, there were 1,674 companies formed in July 2015, with an average of 77 new entities established each working day.

According to The Irish Times, this made it the second busiest July of the past 25 years.

July 2015 saw a 15pc rise in company start-ups compared with July 2014.

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Main image via Shutterstock

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.