Tech Nation

Yair Lapid embraces WhatsApp; Israelis shop online; EMC appoints new chief executive; Partner might buy stake in fiber-optic company.

Reuters

In shift to WhatsApp, Lapid tells followers Facebook is ‘so 2013’
Former Finance Minister Yair Lapid regularly used Facebook to get his message out to the public, but now he's encouraging his followers to switch to WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned message service, if they want information on his Yesh Atid party’s election campaign. “Facebook is so 2013,” Lapid wrote in a Facebook status update on Thursday. “In the 2015 election, the interesting things are really happening on WhatsApp.” The message came with a video showing how to add a cellphone number to a smartphone address book in order to obtain the party’s WhatApp feed. Lapid also has a Twitter account. His party is focusing on digital media in the run-up to the March 17 election, but it also has a campaign newspaper with a masthead designed to look like the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. (Zvi Zrahiya)

Israelis buy lots online, but many sites are foreign ones
Israelis came in near the top in an international survey on using the Internet to make purchases, but many Israeli businesses have not yet joined in, according to survey results released by PayPal and the Israel Internet Association. PayPal, the online payment platform, reported that 82% of Israelis used the Internet over the past year to make purchases. PayPal estimates that over the last year, Israelis made 7.9 billion shekels ($2 billion) worth of purchases online, but only 18% did so exclusively via Israeli websites. According to the Israel Internet Association, only 26% of small and mid-sized Israeli firms reported that they gave customers the option to buy online. Half of the people polled said they bought online to save money. (Inbal Orpaz)

Partner mulling investment in high-speed fiber-optic firm
Partner Communications, which does business in Israel as Orange, is considering investing up to 500 million shekels ($128 million) in IBC, a fiber-optic company that offers Internet infrastructure at extremely high speeds. Officials from the two companies have met on the matter, which is also being looked into by regulators.   IBC is now offering its high-speed network in Be’er Sheva, the Tel Aviv area and Tirat Hacarmel in the north. At this point, however, only smaller Internet service providers are offering access to IBC’s service, and the number of consumers that abandon the service after a one-month trial period is relatively high. But cellular firms view IBC as a possible means to compete with Bezeq and Hot, currently the two dominant firms providing Internet cable infrastructure. (Amir Teig and Amitai Ziv)

Erez Tsur of Cadence named new EMC Israel chief executive
EMC, a U.S.-based information technology company, says Erez Tsur will be appointed its new CEO in Israel, replacing Danny Neuberger. In addition to sales and service operations and acquisitions of startups, EMC does product development in Israel. Over the past four years, Tsur has served as CEO of Cadence Design Systems, a software and engineering services company that has hundreds of employees in Israel. Tsur has also co-chaired the multinational company forum of Israel Advanced Technologies Industries, the country’s umbrella organization of high-tech and life-sciences firms. He is scheduled to take office at EMC in February. (Inbal Orpaz)

Ofer Vaknin