The digital business week

4 Apr 2011

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

LinkedIn to create 100 new jobs in Dublin

LinkedIn, the most popular professional network across the globe, is to create 100 new jobs in Dublin, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD has announced.

The jobs, which will be available over the next 12 months, will include graduate and experienced positions, with opportunities in sales, business development, marketing, customer services, finance, HR and operations.

Eircom workers vote to approve €92m rescue package

A ballot of workers at Eircom has endorsed a rescue package proposed by the operator’s management team by a vote of 1,908 in favour and 1,388 against.

The package includes a 10pc pay cut as part of a reduced hours formula where staff will work nine days per fortnight.

The move will save Eircom €92m over the next three years. The company has debts of €3.8bn and has warned it is in danger of breaching its debt covenants.

Google in major NFC alliance with MasterCard and Citigroup

Internet giant Google is to press the start button on its integrated NFC (near field communications) technology within Android Gingerbread after revealing an alliance with MasterCard and Citigroup.

The move will enable consumers equipped with Android phones to make contactless card payments by simply waving their phones in front of an enabled till in stores.

Under the deal – which doesn’t include any transaction cut for Google – holders of Citigroup debit and credit cards will be able to pay for goods and services by using the mobile payment capabilities in the latest Android devices, such as the Samsung Nexus S.

The technology enables consumers to carry a virtual mobile wallet embedded as an app within their phone and allow them to decide whether to pay by cash, debit card or credit via their phone.

The deal also involves credit card reader giant VeriFone systems.

But what’s in it for Google? Quite simply, in a world where advertising and deals are merging and boosted by location-based capabilities, the advertising potential is enormous.

The new service is expected to debut at first in the US later this year.

Microsoft files antitrust complaint with EC against Google

Microsoft has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission against Google, claiming the search company has “violated European competition law.”

The legal filing was revealed by Microsoft’s senior vice-president and general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post.

While Smith compliments Google for its innovations and engineering prowess, he says Microsoft would be joining other companies in registering complaints claiming Google has violated European competition law, which has given it 95pc of the search market in Europe.

This is compared to its share in the US, where Microsoft says its search engine Bing serves one-quarter of the American market.

eBay to buy GSI Commerce for US$2.4bn

Online auctions and e-commerce site eBay is to acquire e-commerce and marketing firm GSI Commerce for USUS$2.4bn, or US$29.25 a share. The acquisition will be financed through cash and debt.

The move will enhance eBay’s ambition to be the leading strategic global commerce partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes, the company said.

The merger consideration represents a 51pc premium over GSI’s 25 March 2011 closing price and a 47pc premium over the average closing price of GSI Commerce common stock over the 30 trading days prior to 28 March 2011.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory and GSI shareholder approval, as well as other customary closing conditions.

Vodafone buys out Indian partner in US$5bn deal

Vodafone is buying out Essar Group’s 33pc stake in the Indian mobile phone network Vodafone Essar in a deal worth US$5bn in cash, Vodafone has announced.

The buyout will result in Vodafone owning a 75pc share in the network, which is the third-biggest mobile phone operator in India. In January 2011, the network had more than 127m subscribers.

It comes about after Essar exercised its put option over 22pc of Vodafone Essar. Vodafone subsequently exercised its call option to purchase the remaining 11pc share owned by the Essar Group.

Vodafone said it is expecting the deal to be completed no later than November 2011.