The digital business week

11 Jul 2011

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

NoTW newspaper to close in fallout over phone hacking

The contentious hacking of phones belonging to 7/7 bombing victims, their families and murder victim Milly Dowler has created an untenable situation for The News of the World, which printed its last edition Sunday.

News International is understood to be planning a new Sunday newspaper called The Sun on Sunday.

The scandal over journalists and paid investigators hacking the phone accounts of 7/7 victims and Dowler has proven repugnant to many people in the UK and may cause media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of News International to be delayed.

The scandal reached such a crescendo that UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Leader Ed Milliband are meeting this week to order a full enquiry. It is understood staff are to move to a new seven-day operation.

Visa, MasterCard appear to lift WikiLeaks ban

Credit card giants Visa and MasterCard appear to have lifted their ban on donations to WikiLeaks following news earlier last week that the whistle-blowing website would file a complaint with the European Commission on the matter.

DataCell, the company that deals with WikiLeaks payments, has said it is now able to again process Visa and MasterCard payments.

In December, the credit card companies had imposed a ban on all payments made to WikiLeaks, which infuriated officials by publishing confidential US diplomatic cables, as well as classified information on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Full Tilt Poker in refinancing discussions, hope for 700 jobs?

There may still be hope for the 700 Irish jobs at risk at Full Tilt Poker, as the online poker website is in early talks to refinance the business after its licence was suspended.

The Irish Times reported that the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), after suspending Full Tilt Poker’s licence last week, is in discussions with the online gaming company and an unnamed third party to allow it to reopen to players.

Reports suggest that European investors may finance the company. Others have linked Las Vegas casino owner Jack Binion to investing in Full Tilt Poker.

The licence’s original suspension came after an investigation in which the commission discovered Full Tilt Poker was operating against Alderney legislation.

The suspension has put 700 jobs in jeopardy in Full Tilt Poker’s Cherrywood, Dublin, operations. Services were also pulled from its website.

eBay acquires mobile payment company Zong for US$240m

eBay has acquired Zong, a company which provides payments through mobile billing, for US$240m in cash, aiming to bring its services to PayPal.

Zong works with more than 250 mobile network operators worldwide, offering localised payment services on a user’s mobile phone or PC through their carrier billing.

When a user enters their mobile phone number, Zong verifies it and clears the online payment.

eBay is looking to use this technology to strengthen PayPal’s position in mobile payments and digital goods, allowing users to pay for products online anywhere.

Samsung forecasts 26pc fall in Q2 operating profit

Samsung Electronics foresees a 26pc drop in its second-quarter operating profit of 3.7trn won (US$3.48bn), which is below the record 5.01trn won (US$4.7bn) a year earlier.

The world’s biggest maker of flat panels, memory chips and flat-screen televisions, however, forecast Q2 revenue at 39trn won (US$36.6bn) in its earnings guidance before the release of official results. That marks a 2.9pc increase from 37.89trn (US$35.8bn) in April-June 2010.

Samsung did not provide an estimate for net profit or other details.

Decreasing demand for TVs and personal computers, particularly in the US and Europe, probably had an impact on the company’s liquid crystal display business, analysts said.

Bank of Ireland launches contactless Visa debit cards

Bank of Ireland has launched a new contactless-enabled Visa debit card, allowing consumers to pay for purchases of €15 and under “in less than a second” by holding a card over a reader.

The card utilises near field communications (NFC) to enable contactless transactions, which are recorded on a customer’s account.

They are subject to the same level of consumer protection as all Visa cards. Once the card is used a certain number of times or above a certain value, consumers will be prompted to input a PIN to complete their purchase.

Bank of Ireland says the card is suitable for retailers, buses, trains, parking and vending machines. Outlets will display a Contactless symbol, showing that they support this technology.

Stay informed – get daily updates on the latest happenings in technology directly to your inbox.