The digital business week

18 Jul 2011

A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.

News Corp withdraws BSkyB bid

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has withdrawn its bid to takeover the 61pc of BSkyB it doesn’t already own.

Sky News reported that the media conglomerate has given up on its attempts to gain total control of broadcaster BSkyB.

In a statement, deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, Chase Carey said, “it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate”.

News Corp currently owns 39pc of BSkyB but Murdoch has had his eye on the remaining 61pc for years. The firm said it will remain a long-term, committed shareholder in the broadcaster.

Google achieves US$9bn Q2 – confirms 10m G+ users

Internet search and advertising giant Google has reported a 32pc increase in Q2 revenues, reporting US$9.03bn, ahead of Wall Street expectations of US$8.6bn. The company confirmed it has surpassed 10m G+ users.

CEO Larry Page confirmed in an earnings call that more than 10m people have begun using its social networking platform, Google+, and that 1bn pieces of content were being shared every day.

“We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32pc year on year for a record breaking over US$9bn of revenue,” said Page.

“I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+, which lets you share just like in real life.”

Google-owned sites generated revenues of US$6.23bn, or 69pc of total revenues.

Android 70pc of Sony Ericsson sales – takes 11pc of Android market

Sony Ericsson reported losses of €50m on sales of €1.2bn, which were down 32pc year-on-year, which it blamed on the Japanese earthquake. The company’s losses were in stark contrast to profits of €12m last year.

“Sony Ericsson’s second quarter profitability was affected by the March 11 earthquake in Japan,” Bert Nordberg, president and CEO of Sony Ericsson explained.

“We estimate that the impact of earthquake-related supply chain constraints on our portfolio was close to 1.5m units, with most of the effect in the early part of the quarter.”

Nordberg said that the company’s move to Google’s mobile operating system Android is paying off, with Android device sales capturing the majority of its revenues.

“Our shift to Android-based smartphones continues with smartphone sales accounting for more than 70pc of our total sales during the quarter,” Nordberg said.

RTÉ reports €4.7m deficit for 2010

RTÉ has reported a €4.7m deficit for 2010 as the company’s chairman warns that Ireland’s national broadcaster faces more uncertainty.

Although the deficit is largely improved from 2009’s figure of €16.5m, chairman Tom Savage said there were “renewed uncertainties” this year.

He said the December Budget, along with changes introduced in the 2009 Broadcasting Act, would have a negative effect of €20m a year on RTÉ.

Some of the changes prevented the group from reporting a small surplus last year.

WikiLeaks takes war against Visa and MasterCard to Europe

WikiLeaks and its payment partner DataCell have filed a formal complaint to the European Commission saying the decision by Visa Europe and MasterCard to block donations violates EU antitrust laws.

In a complaint filed alongside Iceland-based IT company DataCell, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks says Visa and MasterCard have breached Articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty.

DataCell has a contract with WikiLeaks to collect credit card donations on its behalf.

Since December, Visa and MasterCard blocked WikiLeaks from using their networks to collect donations.

DataCell, which operates a data centre in Iceland powered by renewable energy resources, said it believes Visa and MasterCard are abusing their dominant positions in the market.

Future of online banking rests with the smartphone

Online banking is now the most commonly used method for banking amongst Irish youth, according to a survey by National Irish Bank, with 78pc doing their banking online at least once a week. One per cent of Irish teens already do their banking via smartphone and more would use it if it were available.

Some 48pc of those surveyed use it several times a week. Of those surveyed, 63pc prefer to pay their bills online.

The research commissioned by National Irish Bank surveyed young adults, between 18-27, on their financial status, their use of financial services and their knowledge of the products and services available to them.

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