IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 12 September
Retailers to get new credit card payment option | Wubud given EUR150,000 by an angel
The Irish Times says that Dublin-based Blue Ocean Wireless has sold an 11.5 percent stake to Japanese mobile group NTT DoCoMo, as reported by ENN on Thursday.
The paper also says that US eye care firm Alcon Laboratories is to create 186 new jobs at its plant in Cork, as noted by ENN.
The paper also reports that smartphone maker Palm believes the launch of its new Treo Pro will help it double its business in Ireland this year. The once dominant maker of PDAs is betting that the Treo Pro can win market share from the Blackberry e-mail device beloved by executives in Europe and the US. It runs Windows Mobile rather than the Palm OS. Palm's Irish sales manager, Kieran O'Toole, points to Gartner research which shows that over 80 percent of European businesses have at least one Windows Mobile device, while just over 50 percent have a Blackberry. O'Toole concedes its current business handset, the Treo 750, has an "industrial look and feel", but he believes the sleek design of the Pro will win over customers.
The paper also says that a new way for retailers to accept credit card payments is set to be launched in Ireland early next year, using Blackberry devices as mobile terminals. eMerit was developed by Irish-based Commercial Wireless and British mobile firm Tracktech. eMerit uses software to enable small or mobile retailers to take card details from customers, input them into a Blackberry and take the payment in a secure manner. The information is kept on a server, so no details are retained on the Blackberry. "If you have ever tried to get a credit card terminal, it's an unbelievably long process," said Michael Moriarty, managing director of Commercial Wireless. "It's detailed, you have to fill out a huge amount of forms, and it's expensive -- it costs between EUR40 and EUR50 a month to rent it."
The same paper notes that Wubud, a mobile social networking service founded by Irishman Paul Walsh, has attracted EUR150,000 in angel funding from Bebo co-founder Paul Birch. Walsh is chief executive of Segala, which provides accessibility and usability certification for websites. Details of Wubud are under wraps, but it is being developed in Hong Kong and will enable users to find social networking friends who are physically nearby.
The paper also notes that technology from Galway-based FotoNation will be embedded in Casio's Exilim range of digital cameras following a deal with Tessera Technologies, which acquired FotoNation for USD29 million earlier this year. The Galway firm's face tracking and recognition technology will be used to ensure human subjects in photos are well-lit and well-focused.
The same paper reports that mobile software firm NewBay has announced a major deal with US Cellular, as reported by ENN on Tuesday.
The paper also says that Microsoft has announced details of its new range of Zune media players. The new devices are able to automatically identify and buy songs that are played on a built-in FM radio. The models, which go on sale in the US next week, also enable music tracks to be streamed or purchased while the user is in a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Irish Independent notes that mobile operator Meteor now has over 1 million customers. Read more on this story on ENN.
The same paper says that Glasgow-based company Kerchoonz is about to launch a free and legal music download service. Kerchoonz is the first service to address the music industry's biggest problem: how to pay recording artists for their work and allow fans to download their music for free. Kerchoonz allows bands and artists to earn money every time somebody listens to, or downloads their music. For users, all songs are free to play and download, and it's also completely legal to do so.
The Irish Examiner says that transition year students will have the opportunity to experience a career in marketing with the launch of an online activity-based programme. The internet-based course is operated by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and will be rolled out to schools over the coming months. The course, Step into Marketing, is 11 years in operation, but this is the first year it will be conducted online.
The paper also reports that the organisation representing graduates in the agriculture and food industry has warned about the danger of targeting science and technology for budget cuts as a solution to the current difficulties in the public finances. Gerry Scully, president of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA), said a reduction in investment in agriculture and food research, advice and innovation would starve the sector of competitive, cutting-edge technology. Addressing the ASA annual conference in Galway, he said the massive cutbacks in the late 1980s put the Irish agriculture and food industry at a serious disadvantage relative to its international competitors.
According to the Financial Times, a bold attempt to build a "Freeview for the internet" is to be defended before UK regulators amid accusations it would stifle competition. ITV, Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide are to join forces to form a one-stop shop for watching recent TV broadcasts and archive programming online. But Project Kangaroo, as the venture is codenamed, is under investigation by the UK's Competition Commission. Rival broadcasters such as BSkyB and Virgin Media claim it would control too much of the emerging market for online television in the UK.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Yahoo executives have provided an update on the company's plans to open up its online services -- including its home page and e-mail service -- to contributions from third-parties. The efforts, described in a briefing at the company's headquarters, range from allowing users to search other content -- such as classified-ad sites -- from within Yahoo Mail, to allowing them to access online music services like that of Amazon from within Yahoo Music. Yahoo also said it will be redesigning its homepage to make it easier for users to tap into these third-party services, demonstrating how users might add a link to the movie site Netflix in the right corner of their screens.
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