The digital business week

22 Nov 2010

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

Ireland could be ‘poster boy’ for digital economy jobs growth

For decades, Silicon Valley has been the poster boy of innovation and jobs growth in technology. If Ireland resolves legal and regulatory issues, it too could be the location of choice for emerging companies in the digital sector.

Legal and internet experts have agreed that Ireland has an unrivalled opportunity to grow jobs and investment in the digital sector but not without critical legislative and regulatory reform.

In terms of inward investment, Ireland is becoming the internet capital of Europe with firms like eBay, Google, Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn, Amazon and Yahoo basing themselves in Dublin, companies like Avaya and Electronic Arts basing themselves in Galway and companies like Apple and Big Fish Games expanding their presence in Cork.

“The digital economy offers huge and exciting opportunities for job creation and economic growth,” said TJ McIntyre, lecturer in law in University College Dublin and chairman of Digital Rights Ireland.

“What we have to do is create the right environment to attract these companies to Ireland and to make it easier for indigenous businesses to establish themselves and generate jobs.”

Ireland’s 12.5pc corporation tax ‘not up for negotiation’

Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation said the 12.5pc corporate tax rate, which is critical to securing inward investment, is not up for negotiation.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe TD reiterated the Government’s commitment to Ireland’s 12.5pc corporation tax rate.

“Our 12.5pc corporation tax rate is a vital draw for foreign direct investment (FDI) and it remains a key component of our industrial policy.

“It is an aspect of taxation on which the Government is not for turning and it is vital that we keeping hammering that message home to the international investor community,” said O’Keeffe.

O’Keeffe said FDI generates more jobs per head of population in Ireland than in any other country and foreign firms support some 240,000 Irish jobs.

Craig Barrett: ‘Irish tech sector will drive economic recovery’

Ireland needs to focus on enlarging its indigenous high-tech sector to drive economic recovery, the former chairman of Intel and now chairman of the Irish Technology Leaders Group Craig Barrett said.

“There is significant opportunity for growth driven by these firms,” Barrett said.

“Ireland and the US are in similar circumstances. If we don’t take advantage of our skilled workforces and entrepreneurial spirit we will lose out to emerging economies. We … support Irish tech companies who have the ambition to grow and succeed.”

Facebook overtakes eBay in valuation

Social networking giant Facebook has overtaken eBay to become the third-largest US internet company by valuation, it has emerged.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook’s stock is trading at more than US$16 on SecondMarket Inc, an exchange for shares of privately held companies, putting its worth at about US$41bn.

This is higher than eBay’s US$39bn valuation on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Facebook trails, which has a US$74bn valuation. The leader of the pack is Google, which has a valuation of US$192.9bn.

Online advertising increases 12.2pc on last year

There has been an increase of 12.2pc in online advertising as well as an 11.2pc increase in internet access, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by IAB Ireland, the trade association for Irish online advertising, showed that the strong performance of online advertising was fuelled by the increase of broadband connections from 63pc in 2009 to 67.1pc in 2010.

Time spent online was also a contributing factor, with the average hours spent online per month increasing from 15.6 hours to 19.4 hours compared to the same time last year.

The IAB PwC Online Adspend Study found that the automobile category was the biggest spender on online advertising at 22pc, which was closely trailed by property/recruitment at 19pc.

There was an increase in ad revenues between January to June 2010 (€53.9m) compared to the same period last year (€48m).

Twitter not in search of new round of funding

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams has given public assurances that the popular social networking site is not short on money, despite media claims that Twitter is seeking a new round of financing.

Williams made assurances that Twitter has money in the bank and noted the site was in talks with Facebook about ways to work together, according to Reuters.