The digital business week

11 Oct 2010

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

Betfair valued at stg£1.5bn for planned IPO

Online-gaming site Betfair, which is due to go public, is valued at stg £1.5bn. The company, which has an operation in Dublin, plans to offer shares at between stg£11 and stg£14 each on London’s FTSE 250.

Betfair was the world’s first gambling site to create an iPhone app. The company provides person-to-person betting around outcomes in sport and business.

The price range suggests Betfair is being valued at up to 21 and 28 times its forward earnings, according to reports.

Irish firms punch above their weight in ICT and digital economy

Irish companies are already punching above their weight in using online commerce for sales and purchases and are above the EU average in online commerce adoption.

However, the country is lagging on the citizen and consumer side, where more work needs to be done in terms of digital skills, online access for the elderly and disabled, and more productivity and electronic government services.

These are the views of Anthony Whelan, the Co Clare man who is the chef de cabinet of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, the key instigator of Europe’s digital agenda.

“If we were to look beyond the problems in the Irish economy, we need to lay the foundations for growth going forward and we can’t get there without taking digital seriously,” Whelan said.

Kroes will be in Dublin on 12 October to address the 17th Annual Telecoms and Internet Federation (TIF) Conference.

All-Ireland address code provider urges Govt to go digital

The provider of an all-Ireland digital address code system that has generated 45,00 new codes for the public has put itself forward as a potential solution for the country since the current system proposed cannot be used directly by sat navs, iPhones or other GPS-enabled devices.

The innovative business initiative, which has the support of Enterprise Ireland, and references map data from Ordnance Survey Ireland and Land & Property Services Northern Ireland, has been developed by Cork-based company Loc8 Code Ltd. in collaboration with Garmin Europe.

Not only can the Loc8 Code be used in a sat-nav or GPS-enabled mobile device, but also it can be used in conjunction with a web address to map a location easily. A website will show the Loc8 Code on a map.

Skype names new CEO

Skype has appointed Tony Bates, a senior vice-president at Cisco, as its new CEO. It’s seen as another step towards the company going public.

Bates ran the Enterprise and Service Provider groups in Cisco, accounting for about $30bn of its business.

This was 80pc of Cisco’s business and he had more than 12,000 employees reporting to him.

He will move to Skype’s headquarters in Luxembourg to start his duties at the end of October. Skype’s CFO Adrian Dillion will act as its interim CEO until then.

Twitter CEO Ev Williams steps aside

Sometimes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead and that’s exactly the decision made by Twitter CEO Ev Williams, who will be replaced by current COO Dick Costolo, who has been with the company about a year.

Williams is by no means leaving Twitter, he will stay on to focus on product strategy.

Williams recruited Costolo last year and for the past few months, Costolo has been running the show while Williams focused exclusively on the new Twitter redesign.

“I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build,” Williams said.

Teenagers admire Steve Jobs more than Mark Zuckerberg

Apple CEO Steve Jobs topped the 2010 Junior Achievement Teens and Entrepreneurship survey, beating Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Twenty-three per cent of teenagers in the US admired Jobs the most for his work in Apple. This was down from 35pc of last year.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling came in second at 17pc, and talk-show icon Oprah Winfrey came third at 14pc.

Zuckerberg came in at 9pc, tying with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, in spite of Facebook’s user base of more than half a billion.