The digital business week

14 Nov 2011

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

HP considering the future of its webOS business

HP is weighing up options for its webOS division, after it decided not to spin off its PC business. It is reportedly evaluating whether or not it would be worth selling it off to another company.

Reuters reports a sell-off of the division would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, though not as much as HP originally bought Palm, the company behind webOS.

A number of technology companies, which could include Oracle, have reportedly expressed interest in buying the webOS business, particularly for its patents.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is advising HP on whether it should sell off its webOS division or keep it.

Adobe confirms ending Flash Player for mobile, cuts 750 jobs

Adobe has confirmed it will no longer continue to develop Flash Player for mobile devices. It will also let go of 750 employees across Europe and North America.

According to Adobe, because HTML5 has more widespread support on mobile devices, the company believes it is the best solution for delivering content in mobile browsers.

Adobe will now increase investment in HTML5 and will use Flash for gaming and premium video for desktops.

As previously reported, Adobe will also use Flash to package native mobile apps with Adobe AIR on app stores.

Adobe will still release Flash Player 11.1 for Android and the BlackBerry PlayBook, but it will cease development of the player for mobile platforms after this. It will still provide bug fixes and security updates for existing devices.

Bloomberg reports that Adobe will cut 750 full-time jobs as it reduces its focus on older products and shifts its focus to digital publishing and web advertising.

Facebook nears FTC agreement on privacy

Facebook is close to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that would require users’ consent before the social network shares data differently to what the user originally agreed to.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook would need to get users’ approval before making “material retroactive changes” to its privacy policies.

This means that Facebook could not make information already on the site more widely available than the user initially agreed to.

Facebook could also have to submit independent privacy audits for 20 years under the terms of the agreement.

The settlement would not apply to how Facebook gets user consent for new features and it would not require users to agree to all changes made on the site.

COD: Modern Warfare 3 breaks first-day sales records

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has sold more than 6.5m units in the US and UK in its first day alone, topping previous records set by its prequels.

According to Activision Blizzard, it earned US$400m in sales within the first 24 hours of release.

This compares to Call of Duty: Black Ops’ sales of US$360m in one day and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s first-day sales of US$310m.

100 jobs to be cut at credit-card facility

One hundred people are to lose their jobs at Bank of America’s credit card division MBNA in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

The job cuts would be made via a voluntary redundancy programme, the company said, adding that most of the roles were in its collections area. The Carrick-on-Shannon facility employs 750 people.

A total of 250 jobs are to be lost across the Europe card business, with 150 in the UK, announced the bank, which revealed in August that it was selling its credit-card business in Ireland and the UK.

The news will have no effect on Irish credit card customers, the company said.

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