The digital business week

17 Oct 2011

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

RIM co-CEO apologises on video for BlackBerry outages

RIM’s founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has appeared on video apologising for the recent BlackBerry service outages.

The video was posted on BlackBerry’s YouTube channel, where Lazaridis acknowledged the lack of communications from RIM during the service outages.

“Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it’s been my goal to provide reliable, real-time communications around the globe,” he said. “We did not deliver on this goal this week – not even close.”

Lazaridis apologised for the service outages, which affected millions of users across the globe. BlackBerry users were unable to access email, internet and BBM services for a number of days last week.

While Lazaridis did not specify the cause of the issue in this video, it was believed to be due to a failure within Research in Motion’s own infrastructure. A transition to a backup switch did not go according to plan, causing a large backlog of data.

Australia temporarily bans Galaxy Tab 10.1

In what could be a blow to Samsung with respect to profiting from the Christmas season, an Australian court has temporarily banned the sale of the company’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer in the country.

The move is a victory for consumer electronics giant Apple, which has accused Samsung of copying its touchscreen technology for the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The federal court ruled Samsung had a case to answer on at least two of Apple’s patents, Firstpost reported. The ban applies on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet until the same court rules on the core patent issue.

Samsung can appeal the temporary ban within 14 days of the release of the written judgment, which was due on Friday, 14 October.

Apple and Samsung have been waging patent battles in several countries since April, with each company accusing the other of patent infringements.

New Commissioner appointed at ComReg

Alex Chisholm, the chairman of Ireland’s telecoms watchdog ComReg, has been re-appointed commissioner for the next four years and will remain chairman until October 2012. A new commissioner, Kevin O’Brien, has also been appointed to ComReg.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, TD, made the appointments last week. also reported last week that commissioner Mike Byrne will be leaving ComReg and will take up the role of CEO at GS1 Ireland in January.

Rabbitte approved O’Brien’s appointment following an open competition for the post conducted by the Public Appointments Service (PAS), and following the retirement of John Doherty in December 2010.

Google revenues hit US$9.7bn – Google+ has 40m users

Google reported a 33pc increase in third-quarter revenues of US$9.7bn. CEO Larry Page revealed that the search giant’s new social networking service Google+ has just passed the 40m users mark.

Google’s net income for the quarter was US$2.7bn, up from US$2.1bn a year ago. Operating income in the third quarter of 2011 was US$3.06bn, up from US$2.5bn a year ago.

Google-owned sites generated revenues of US$6.74bn compared with US$4.83bn in 2010.

Google’s partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of US$2.60bn compared with revenues of US$2.20bn last year.

Revenues from outside of the US were US$5.3bn, representing 55pc of total revenues in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 54pc in the second quarter of 2011.

Revenues from the UK reached US$1.05bn, representing 11pc of revenues in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 12pc in the third quarter of 2010.

Sony Ericsson to focus on smartphones in 2012

Sony Ericsson will focus on the smartphone market next year, the mobile phone maker said as it posted in-line third-quarter profits.

Lower margins shrunk profits partially offset by operating expenses.

Net profit fell to 0 from €49m in the same quarter last year, while sales decreased slightly to €1.59bn, from €1.6bn a year earlier.

“We delivered a solid €73m improvement in income before taxes as we rebounded from the previous quarter with a 33pc increase in sales,” said Bert Nordberg, president and CEO of Sony Ericsson.

“Android-based Xperia smartphone sales now account for more than 80pc of sales and we have shipped 22m Xperia smartphones to date. We will continue to invest in the smartphone market, shifting the entire portfolio to smartphones during 2012.” 

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