The digital business week

28 Mar 2011

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

Indo to launch Groupon competitor – beefs up online

Independent News & Media revealed plans to expand its online publishing division with the launch of GrabOne, an online coupon service to rival Groupon’s CityDeal service in Ireland.

In the second quarter, the group will also launch a new online jobs portal in conjunction with Stepstone that will combine all of the group’s job boards. Stepstone is part of ‘The Network’ which is made up of 49 job boards across 136 countries.

The group is launching a competitor to Groupon called GrabOne in conjunction with APN. GrabOne is already successful in the Australasian markets.

Independent News & Media has also signed heads of agreement to acquire a 50pc stake in, which it claims is the fastest-growing car sales site in Ireland. The acquisition will be completed next month.

Google’s books strategy in tatters as judge rejects deal

Google’s plans to put all books online are in disarray after a judge yesterday rejected its proposed settlement terms with authors and publishers as simply going too far.

The settlement would have allowed Google to sell access to millions of out-of-print books to consumers and libraries.

New York circuit court judge Denny Chin in a 48-page ruling expressed his concern that such a settlement would give Google greater control over the search and publishing markets.

Chin also said the deal presented privacy concerns because Google would be able to collect information on the kind of books that people were reading.

Google has the option of either appealing the judge’s decision or proposing new settlement terms.

HP taken aback by Oracle’s decision to drop Itanium chips

HP has expressed shock at Oracle’s decision this week to stop developing applications for Intel Itanium processors. The move follows similar decisions by Microsoft and Red Hat last year.

Last week, Oracle announced it intended to discontinue making applications for Intel Itanium microprocessors. Its reasoning followed discussions with Microsoft and Red Hat, because Intel is focusing on its x86 processor family and because it believed Itanium is nearing the end of its life.

However, it could also be assumed the decision may have something to do with a spat between HP, one of the major suppliers of Itanium servers, and Oracle.

Oracle tried to subpoena former SAP CEO and current HP CEO Leo Apotheker in the US$1.3bn software trial between Oracle and SAP, which Oracle won. In addition, former HP CEO Mark Hurd joined Oracle last year as president.

UPC, Vodafone, Eircom and O2 fined for data breaches

Telecoms operators UPC, Vodafone, Eircom and O2 last week pleaded guilty to breaches of the Data Protection Act and were fined €15,000 between them at Dublin District Court.

The companies were charged with making unsolicited marketing phone calls and sending unsolicited marketing messages.

ClearStream Technologies doubles revenues and reverses losses

Wexford-based medical devices company ClearStream Technologies doubled its revenues in the first half of its financial year and posted a net profit, reversing 2009’s €0.7m loss.

The Irish manufacturer of medical devices reported a net profit of €0.12m for the half year ended January 31.

Revenues for the period rose to €9.11m.

The group, which supplies medical devices used in coronary and peripheral interventional procedures, saw an operating profit of €155,227, compared to an operating loss of €654,237 a year earlier.

Apple’s Mac software chief to step down

Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice-president of Mac Software Engineering group, is to leave the company.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s vice-president of Mac Software Engineering, will assume Serlet’s responsibilities and report to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. Federighi is responsible for the development of Mac OS X and has been managing the Mac OS software engineering group for the past two years.

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