The digital business week

18 Jun 2012

Microsoft aims to buy enterprise social network Yammer for US$1bn

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

Microsoft aims to buy enterprise social network Yammer for US$1bn

Microsoft is understood to be in talks with a view to buy business social network Yammer for an estimated US$1bn.

Yammer, which launched in 2008 by David Sacks and is headquartered in San Francisco, originally launched as a microblogging service for the workplace but has evolved into a full enterprise social network service and is often described as either an enterprise version of Twitter or a Facebook for business.

It is being used by more than 200,000 companies worldwide, including 80pc of Fortune 500 companies.

Microsoft’s interest in Yammer is curious to say the least. Apart from its 1.6pc stake in Facebook, Microsoft has done its usual head-in-the-sand routine and ignored social media. So far.

Acquiring a business social network could be seen as a way of leapfrogging into the market and putting the software giant at the intersection of new trends shaping the enterprise.

Nokia to cut 10,000 jobs globally

Struggling Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia has announced a series of cuts, including the closure of facilities in Finland, Canada and Germany.

The planned reductions to Nokia’s devices and services division will see cuts to R&D projects and the consolidation of manufacturing operations. The company also announced a new strategy focusing on sales and marketing, prioritising key markets, and streamlining IT, corporate and support functions.

In total, these changes will result in the loss of up to 10,000 positions by the end of 2013.

They are also expected to scale back the operating costs of devices and services to €3bn by the end of 2013, compared to €5.35bn in 2010.

Among its restructuring plans, Nokia has also set out a new strategy under a refreshed executive team.

“We are increasing our focus on the products and services that our consumers value most while continuing to invest in the innovation that has always defined Nokia,” said Nokia’s president and CEO Stephen Elop.

“We intend to pursue an even more focused effort on Lumia, continued innovation around our feature phones, while placing increased emphasis on our location-based services. However, we must re-shape our operating model and ensure that we create a structure that can support our competitive ambitions.”

Nokia’s plans include the sale of luxury mobile phone manufacturer Vertu and the acquisition of Scalado, an imaging technology specialist. Scalado currently has imaging technology on more than 1bn devices and this investment, expected to close during quarter three, is hoped to enhance the Nokia Lumia devices.

Eircom exits examinership with new funding and shareholders

Eircom has said it has exited examinership with new capital and shareholders in place. ST Telemedia and the Employee Share Ownership Trust are no longer shareholders.

In a statement, the incumbent telecoms operator – consisting of Eircom Ltd, Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd and Irish Telecommunications Investments Ltd – says it is owned entirely by its lenders.

A new board of directors has been constituted, consisting of Ned Sullivan, independent non-executive chairman, Nicky Hartery, non-executive director and Paul Donovan, group CEO and executive director.

The examinership process removed €1.7bn worth of debt from Eircom’s balance sheet – about 40pc of group debt.

It is now embarking on a five-year business plan which includes a 1m home fibre broadband plan.

Angry Birds maker Rovio may establish HQ in Ireland

Angry Birds maker Rovio may fly the coop from Finland to save money on its tax bill and establish headquarters in Ireland, a report says.

Rovio’s turnover grew to €75m last year from €10m the previous year, and less than €1m the year prior to that, The Irish Times reported Rovio CEO Mikael Hed as saying.

He told the paper that Rovio’s profits before tax and other charges was more than 60pc of its income.

The company is reportedly in talks with IDA Ireland about establishing headquarters in Ireland, where the tax rate is 12.5pc. In Finland, where Rovio is based, the corporate tax rate is 24.5pc.

Social network structure image via Shutterstock

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