The digital business week

29 Nov 2010

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

Eircom on target to upgrade 1m lines to 8Mbps by Xmas

Eircom has said that while revenues are down 5.6pc year on year to €442m and net cash flow has plummeted 87.5pc to just €13m, the company is still on track to reach a million homes with 8Mbps broadband.

Eircom CEO Paul Donovan said management at the incumbent operator sees no signs of growth or increased spending by customers at present.

The company has lost 16,000 PSTN line customers, 14,000 wholesale bitstream customers and 4,000 wholesale customers. While it has gained 16,000 wholesale LLU (local loop unbundled) customers and 4,000 mobile broadband customers, it lost 11,000 mobile handset customers.

IEDR creates €100k fund to boost SME e-commerce

While 66pc of Irish businesses have a web presence, a shockingly low 21pc of these have e-commerce functionality. This is up just 3pc since 2000. To counter this and inspire activity, the .ie Domain Registry has created a €100,000 fund.

IEDR chief executive David Curtin told Siliconrepublic the plan is to identify 10 SMEs with potential and give them €10,000 each to develop cutting-edge e-commerce websites. The aim is to finally help SMEs to realise the digital economy is the one sure route to economic salvation.

Silicon Valley veteran to receive Spirit of Ireland Award

A founding father of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) John Hartnett is to be presented with the Spirit of Ireland Award for his work in fostering a strong relationship between Silicon Valley’s home city San José and Dublin.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the San José – Dublin Sister City Program, making the SOI award very special indeed.

In previous years, the award has been presented to individuals, companies and organisations whose accomplishments have exemplified the strong relationship between San José and Dublin, as well as Silicon Valley and Ireland.

A native of Limerick, Hartnett is president and founder of the ITLG, which was established in October 2007.

The group is committed to helping Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities.

Sony may be seeking new president

Sony may be looking for a new president to succeed Howard Stringer, who currently acts as president, chairman and CEO of the company.

Reports say Sony wishes to ease the load off Stringer, who will turn 69 in February. The new president could also be his successor.

Stringer would still act as CEO and chairman, and the new president would act as a deputy to take on some of Stinger’s work and travel obligations. Stringer travels between his New York office, the company’s Tokyo HQ, Sony’s movie division in Los Angeles and London, where his family lives.

Kazuo Hirai, chairman and group chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment, and Hiroshi Yoshioka, executive deputy president of Consumer Products, are both being considered for the role.

SAP to pay Oracle US$1.3bn in largest verdict of its kind

In what has to be the largest payout for copyright infringement in the history of the software industry, a judge has ruled that German business software giant SAP has to pay Oracle US$1.3bn.

SAP has moved to calm investors and has said the verdict will not impact the company’s financial outlook. The company had initially set aside US$160m to handle the litigation.

A jury yesterday awarded the damages after an 11-day trial in California.

Oracle began proceedings against SAP in 2007, alleging its US business unit made thousands of illegal downloads and copies of Oracle’s software in order to avoid paying licence fees and to steal customers.

The verdict is the biggest ever for copyright infringement and matches SAP’s forecast net income for Q4.

Beatles make iTunes sales here, there and everywhere

The Beatles have begun to repay Apple’s reported $500m investment for its musical services by selling 2 million songs from its back catalogue in the former band’s opening week on iTunes.

According to, which cites Apple as its source, the initial sales figures for Beatles on iTunes since 16 November are at 450,000 albums and around 2 million individual songs worldwide.

The Fab Four’s ‘Abbey Road’ album was the best-selling album and ‘Here Comes the Sun’ performed best in individual song sales.