The digital business week

27 Jun 2011

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

Twins launch fresh case against Facebook

Twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have launched a new case against Facebook, this time asking the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts to determine whether Facebook and its CEO “intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence.”

The brothers and their partner, Divya Narendra, have accused CEO Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea to create the social-networking giant while they were students at Harvard University.

In a one-paragraph court filing last week, the Winklevosses said they would accept a settlement that was worth US$65m when agreed upon in 2008. They also said that – contrary to previous reports – they would not take their case to the US Supreme Court.

The brothers had sought rescind the settlement of US$20m cash and US$45m in stock.

The twins are aiming to get access to instant messages Zuckerberg allegedly sent while at Harvard, and may throw a new light on their relationship, reports say.

The claim in the recent filing is Facebook should have disclosed those communications when they put together their original settlement.

A Facebook spokesman has said the company has “considered this case closed for a long time.”

Google faces FTC probe over alleged web dominance

Internet giant Google is about to be hit with a number of subpoenas by US federal authorities in what amounts to a broad investigation into whether the company abused its dominance in web search advertising.

The investigation will focus on fundamental issues relating to Google’s core search advertising business.

Some of the triggers for the investigation include whether Google’s services unfairly steer users in the direction of its growing array of services and concerns that Google’s market power determines the ability of companies to compete and the use of other companies’ content without their permission.

Nokia and Accenture finalise Symbian handover deal

Mobile phone maker Nokia and management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture have finalised an agreement for Nokia to outsource Symbian software development and support activities to Accenture.

Plans for the deal were first announced on 27 April 2011.

Under the agreement, Accenture will provide Symbian-based software development and support services to Nokia through 2016.

About 2,800 Nokia employees in China, Finland, India, the UK and the US are expected to transfer to Accenture at closing, which is expected in early October, 2011.

PopCap Games to be bought for US$1bn

Casual games firm PopCap Games is believed to be in the process of being acquired for US$1bn. The firm, which is behind top titles like Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies, has not disclosed who the potential buyer may be.

According to TechCrunch, an acquisition is definitely on the cards but no one knows who the buyer will be. Having discounted Zynga, who decided the price was too high, potential buyers could include EA Games or an Asian games firm.

Oracle reports strong Q4, despite light hardware sales

Database and application sales surged at Oracle during the fourth quarter, but the business software and hardware systems company’s hardware system revenue fell short of expectations.

Oracle reported strong fourth-quarter earnings of $3.2bn, or 62 cents a share, on revenue of $10.8bn, up 13pc from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings were 75 cents a share. Wall Street had been expecting earnings of 71 cents a share on revenue of $10.75bn.

Hardware system revenue was below expectations, down 6pc to $1.2bn.

However, the company’s core software sales performed well, with new software licence revenue in the fourth quarter up 19pc from a year ago to $3.7bn. Software update and product support revenue was up 15pc to $4bn.

Accenture reports strong Q3 results

Management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture has exceeded analysts’ expectations with a 28pc rise in its third-quarter profits.

The company reported broad revenue growth across all operating groups and geographic regions after gaining market share, and its shares rose 3pc, to $57.35 in after-hours trading.

For the quarter ended 31 May, Accenture posted a profit of $628m, or 93 cents a share, up from $490.6m, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. Net revenue jumped 21pc, to $6.72bn, while revenue after reimbursements also increased 21pc, to $7.2bn.

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