The digital business week

28 Nov 2011

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

BT Ireland appoints new managing directors

BT Ireland has appointed two new managing directors, Shay Walsh and Dave Dempsey, to the leadership team of its all-island operation.

Walsh has been appointed managing director of BT Business, giving him responsibility for BT’s government and corporate customers on the island of Ireland, as well as small and medium enterprise customers in Northern Ireland.

The BT Business division works with BT’s customers to devise managed networked IT solutions appropriate to customers’ needs and scale.

Dempsey has been appointed managing director of BT Wholesale across the island of Ireland, where he succeeds Walsh.

The BT Wholesale division provides services to most communications companies operating on the island.

Nokia Siemens cuts 17,000 workers in bid to save US$1.3bn

In a bid to save US$1.3bn by 2013, Nokia Siemens Networks will cut 17,000 jobs around the world. The reduction will impact 22pc of the company’s global workforce.

The company will put mobile broadband at the heart of its strategy in a bid to close the gap on arch-rival Ericsson.

As well as job cuts, Nokia Siemens intends to target savings through selling off real estate, reducing IT, service and procurement costs and through a range of new productivity measures.

Microsoft back in talks with a view to acquiring Yahoo!

Microsoft is understood to have signed a non-disclosure agreement with Yahoo! that could pave the way for the software giant to re-open talks about buying the internet company.

Microsoft tried to acquire Yahoo! in 2008 but the deal fell through. It had initially offered a 62pc premium – offering US$44.6bn – but boardroom shilly-shallying at Yahoo! allowed Microsoft to run out of patience and withdraw from the deal, with evident relief.

But three years later and it seems Microsoft is interested again.

Microsoft and Yahoo! have a search advertising partnership in place that is beneficial for Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

EU gives Western Digital go-ahead to buy Hitachi for US$4.3bn

The European Commission has approved Western Digital’s acquisition of Hitachi’s hard drive unit for US$4.3bn. The CEO of Western Digital is Irishman John Coyne.

The antitrust approval was secured with a caveat – Western Digital agreed to sell off some of its production assets, as well as patents relating to the production of 3.5-inch hard drives.

The deal will not go ahead, however, until Western Digital finds a buyer for the assets.

The European Commission believes that without these concessions, the 3.5-inch hard-drive market would be dominated by Western Digital and Seagate, which recently acquired Samsung’s hard-drive unit.

Apple to overtake HP as world’s No 1 PC vendor

Apple is expected to overtake HP to be the world’s leading PC vendor by the second half of 2012. Canalys expects full-year 2011 shipments to reach 415m, up 15pc year-on-year, thanks to tablet computer sales.

Tablet computers, in particular the iPad, have radically changed the dynamics of the PC industry over the last year, already propelling Apple into second place in the worldwide PC market in Q3 2011.

Total tablet shipments are expected to reach 59m units by the end of 2011, with Q4 volumes predicted to exceed 22m. While the iPad will dominate in Q4, the recently announced Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are also anticipated to impact the US market.

“Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9pc to 15pc in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points,” said Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.

“HP and Apple will fight for top position in Q4, but Apple may have to wait for the release of iPad 3 before it passes HP.”

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