The digital business week

30 May 2011

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

PayPal sues Google over m-commerce trade secrets

The world’s biggest online payments player PayPal is suing Google for allegedly ‘misappropriating trade secrets’ from PayPal’s mobile payments business.

PayPal has filed a lawsuit in California alleging confidential information was taken by an employee – Osama Bedier – who leads Google’s efforts to bring retailers’ point-of-sale functions up to speed with developments in mobile commerce.

PayPal also alleges another colleague of Bedier’s, Stephanie Tilenius, breached contractual obligations by recruiting Bedier.

Twitter confirms TweetDeck acquisition

Twitter has confirmed it has acquired social media client TweetDeck and that it will invest in “the TweetDeck that users know and love.”

Reports had emerged that Twitter bought Tweetdeck for US$40m, though Twitter did not disclose a figure.

In its blog, Twitter praised TweetDeck for creating a third-party client aimed at “Twitter power-users” and the social media giant implied it they will not change TweetDeck majorly from what has made it so popular.

“This acquisition is an important step forward for us. TweetDeck provides brands, publishers, marketers and others with a powerful platform to track all the real-time conversations they care about. In order to support this important constituency, we will continue to invest in the TweetDeck that users know and love,” said Twitter.

Iain Dodsworth, founder of Tweetdeck, said TweetDeck was acquired by Twitter because it targeted its most active and influential userbase.

“The mainstream Twitter user-base is well catered for by and the official mobile clients. And by becoming part of the official platform, TweetDeck will now fill that role for brands, influencers, the highly active and anyone that just needs ‘more power’.”

Taoiseach says 12.5pc tax will remain, promises education reform

Ireland will not budge on its 12.5pc corporate tax rate, Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny promised. He said to change it would represent a massive breach of trust to investors.

Speaking at the Intel Open Forum on Education at Dublin’s Science Gallery last week, the Taoiseach said: “There will be no change in our corporate tax rate. To even move that would be a massive breach of trust. It is sacrosanct. We have said this to investors around the world who have put their money where their mouth is.”

Kenny also said there will be a radical reform on the cards for Ireland’s education system after last year’s OECD PISA results highlighted issues around maths, literacy and language performance.

Eircom’s revenues fall 11pc due to economic and competitive pressures

Eircom’s third-quarter revenues fell by 11pc from the previous year due to “continued pressures” on both its fixed and mobile segments.

Its revenues for the quarter ending 31 March reached €407m, down from €455m from the same quarter last year.

Operational costs for the quarter were reduced by 13pc to €247m. Its adjusted EBITDA declined by 6pc to €160m.

For its fixed-line segment, revenues fell by 9pc but EBITDA increased by 2pc compared to the same quarter last year.

For its eMobile and Meteor networks, the group added 14,000 billpay customers which was offset by a reduction of 22,000 lower-value prepay customers, resulting in a net loss of 8,000 customers.

Its total mobile customers for both brands stood at 1,044,000, 2pc lower than last year. Revenues fell by 17pc compared to last year, due to fewer customers, reduced average revenue per users and reduced mobile termination rates.

Ireland’s economic troubles and strong competition in the market were said to be the cause of their revenue drop.

“Despite sustained progress to reduce operational costs, the underlying fundamentals of the Irish economy and intense competition continue to create trading challenges for the Group across both our fixed and mobile segments,” said Paul Donovan, CEO of Eircom Group.

“This quarter demonstrated the impact of additional personal taxation changes on our customers, as well as the impact of regulation on the business in the form of reduced mobile termination rates.

Sony reports third annual loss in a row

Sony has reported a net loss of $3.2bn (259.6bn yen) in the year to March but forecast a net profit of 80bn yen for the fiscal year that ends in March 2012.

This marks the third annual loss in a row for the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant, which has had to contend with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and a huge cyber attack.

In the quarter to March, Sony incurred a 388.8bn yen net loss, mainly as a result of the earthquake. The company also cited a 362bn yen non-cash charge set aside for deferred tax assets.

Operating profit grew to 199.8bn yen for the year to March from 31.8bn yen, but sales were down 0.5pc at 7.18trn yen.

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