The digital business week

21 Feb 2011

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

Google buys Dublin’s tallest building for future growth

Google has purchased Dublin’s tallest commercial office block, the Montevetro building, for €99.9m

Google bought the 15-storey Montevetro office building on Barrow Street in Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2, from Real Estate Opportunities plc (REO) to provide more space for existing operations and capacity for future growth.

The 67-metre tall building is comprised of 210,000 sq feet of prime office space. NAMA, which acquired the Montevetro building as security for a loan that transferred from a participating institution in April 2010, advanced the necessary working capital to complete the development. Treasury Holdings, NAMA and CIE collaborated to deliver the building to schedule.

Ireland records EU’s second-highest trade surplus

Ireland recorded the second-highest trade surplus in the EU from January-November 2010, according to Eurostat figures.

“(The) figures show that Ireland recorded the second-highest trade surplus in the EU after Germany for the period January to November 2010. Irish exports rose by 5pc to €81.2bn while imports dropped by 1pc to €40.9bn, giving a trade surplus of €40.3bn,” said Seán Murphy, Chambers Ireland deputy chief executive.

FarmVille creator Zynga valued at US$10bn – raising US$500m

Social gaming giant Zynga is understood to be close to completing a US$500m funding round that values the company at US$10bn.

According to various reports, most notably from Kara Swisher, the round includes Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Investments and Kleiner Perkins.

To date, Zynga has raised US$500m from various Silicon Valley executives, including Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz and Russia’s DST Global, a major investor in Facebook.

O2’s entry into money market will lead to NFC mobile wallet

Ireland’s second-largest mobile operator Telefonica O2 is bringing out a new money card for consumers that will allow them to buy goods and services in most retail outlets. New CEO Stephen Shurrock says the move is a definitive step in the direction of future e-wallet services.

Shurrock explained to that the card was developed in partnership with established financial players 3V, Visa and PayZone.

The O2 Money card is available to purchase in O2 stores nationwide by customers of any Irish mobile operator who are over 18 years of age. Customers can top up €20 to €350 per day onto their card which, because it operates on the Visa platform, can be used almost anywhere that accepts electronic Visa payments, at home or abroad, in-store or online.

Nokia Plan B cancelled

Nokia investors who called for the dismissal of CEO Stephen Elop and demanded that MeeGo should be Nokia’s primary OS have decided not to carry through with their agenda.

The anonymous group of investors were unhappy with Nokia’s new strategic direction, which sidelined Symbian, made MeeGo an open source platform and made Windows Phone 7 Nokia’s primary mobile OS.

Under the title ‘Nokia Plan B’, they originally called for the dismissal of Elop and a restructure of the Microsoft alliance. They also wanted to make MeeGo Nokia’s primary smartphone OS and to increase Symbian’s life span for another five years.

However, they have now decided not to carry on with this plan.

While they said they received support from hundreds of individual shareholders, responses from institutional investors were not as encouraging. Due to these institutions’ fiduciary responsibility to their customers, they were legally barred from supporting radical initiatives.

The group also realised that by the time Nokia Plan B was implemented, most of the company’s remaining software staff would have left, making the plan much more difficult to implement.

Twitter CEO dismisses acquisition rumours

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has rejected rumours that Google and Facebook were in acquisition or merger talks with the microblogging site. He said the reports were false.

Costolo dismissed the claims, which were reported in the Wall Street Journal, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, stating, “People write that stuff all the time. I don’t know where these things come from, it’s just a rumour.”

Costolo insisted Twitter is making money through its promoted tweets, accounts and trends.

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