A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.
Facebook acquires software design company Sofa
Facebook has acquired Dutch software and interface design company Sofa for an undisclosed amount.
The company is known for its Mac interface design and has won an Apple Design Award.
According to The Next Web, Facebook believes both its values and Sofa’s align quite closely.
“We noticed their products and then found and met them at SXSW and realised our team values and cultures were really similar. Then we invited them to FB. Rest is history!” said a Facebook spokesperson.
Nokia CTO steps down over strategic differences
The CTO of Nokia has taken a leave of absence from the company and is unlikely to return due to disagreements over strategy. The news comes amid rumours that Samsung may be interested in buying the ailing Finnish mobile giant.
According to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Samomat, CTO Richard Green was unhappy with management decisions that include abandoning the MeeGo operating system in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.
Nokia has confirmed Green has left the company to deal with personal matters and declined to comment further.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has described the Samsung rumours as “baseless”, affirming Nokia is not for sale.
Google and Apple are world’s most reputable companies – study
Google and Apple both took the top spot in a study of the world’s most reputable companies, with Google reaching No 1 in Ireland.
The study was conducted by the Reputation Institute and involved more than 48,000 consumers across 15 countries. It covered seven key areas: products/services, innovation, governance, workplace, citizenship, leadership and performance.
Worldwide, Google and Apple were among the most trusted and respected companies, with Disney, BMW and Lego following.
In Ireland, Cadbury’s came second and Kellogg’s came third.
Apple world’s largest buyer of semiconductors – IHS iSuppli
Booming demand for iPad and iPhone devices has resulted in Apple becoming the largest buyer of semiconductors among OEMs in the world for the first time, according to IHS iSuppli.
Apple in 2010 bought US$17.5bn worth of semiconductors, a 79.6pc increase from US$9.7bn in 2009. This represented the highest rate of increase among the world’s top 10 OEM semiconductor buyers, allowing Apple to rise up two positions to take the No 1 rank in 2010.
Apple in 2009 was the third-largest semiconductor purchaser, behind Hewlett-Packard Co. of the United States and Samsung Electronics; it was sixth in 2008.
Sage unveils new FX global payments service
Sage’s Irish operations have launched a new, free global payment service aimed at making it faster and cheaper for businesses or individuals to make foreign currency transfers when paying suppliers overseas.
Some 90pc of companies in Ireland still use the bank despite being charged transfer fees, uncompetitive exchange rates and slow transfers, Sage said.
“Sage is focused on bringing added-value services to Irish businesses to help improve productivity, process efficiency and reduce costs,” explained David O’Reilly, head of product marketing, Sage Ireland.
“Sage Foreign Exchange is one of these services. We know from talking to our customers that over 50pc of them conduct foreign currency transfers and we are delighted to be partnering with Transfermate Global Services to bring Sage Foreign Exchange to businesses so they can get better value when transferring money overseas,” O’Reilly said.
Sage Foreign Exchange has features such as bank account verification that confirms that the beneficiary bank account details are correct, eliminating money bouncing back and the charging of extra fees.