A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, including, Dick Costolo steps down as Twitter CEO and Three Ireland extends its free 4G offer.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to step down, Jack Dorsey returns as interim CEO
In a surprise development, social network Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo is to step down. The company moved quickly to reaffirm to Wall Street that targets for Q2 revenues will be in the US$470m to US$485m range.
Twitter’s history has been pockmarked by musical chairs at the top and, while Costolo presided over a period of rapid expansion for the company, he faced intense criticism from media and investors, particularly in response to the company’s mixed Q1 results.
In the face of a barrage of criticism he nevertheless exuded an air of calm professionalism while he increased the social network’s advertising revenue and workforce headcount. In fact, Costolo presided over what is perhaps the most consistent leadership period Twitter has ever had in its relatively short history.
Costolo will continue to serve on Twitter’s board.
Three Ireland to extend free 4G for a year – O2 customers to finally get 4G
Three has confirmed that it is extending its free 4G promotion in Ireland for a further year. As well as this, O2 Ireland customers will now get 4G for the first time and it will also be free for a whole year.
When Three was given the go-ahead to acquire O2 Ireland last year for €850m it basically meant that O2 Ireland’s 4G plans were put on hold.
One of the main advantages in acquiring O2 for Three was €223m worth of 4G spectrum that O2 paid for in 2012.
Intel launches US$125m fund for start-ups run by women, minorities
Intel has launched a US$125m investment fund earmarked for technology start-ups run by women and underrepresented minorities.
The fund will be led by Lisa M. Lambert, managing director and vice president of Intel Capital.
Speaking about the launch, Lambert said that Intel is “proud to take a leading role toward broader participation in technology entrepreneurship and employment. With this new fund, Intel Capital is committed to investing in the best talent from a myriad of backgrounds to cultivate innovations that serve the needs of a diverse public.”
ESB expo sees €64m in new overseas contracts announced
ESB’s consultancy division, ESB International, has won €64m in contracts to work in countries including Saudi Arabia and Ghana.
The company made the announcement at its Powering Potential Expo, which looks at the world’s future development of clean energies and smart cities,
The electricity provider confirmed the signing of a €12m contract in Ghana; a contract with the World Bank in Zambia and Zanzibar; a €17m contract that will be signed in Saudi Arabia next week, and a contract under negotiation with the Botswana government for €35m.
Ireland leads the global Wi-Fi league tables
In two separate studies Ireland has led the world for the quality of public Wi-Fi, as well as the quality of wireless broadband at Dublin Airport.
Based on data collected from public Wi-Fi hotspots across 172 countries, Ireland appears to be a global Wi-Fi hotspot and boasts the fourth fastest average public Wi-Fi download speeds worldwide at 11.4Mbps.
According to the study by Forbes and Statista, Lithuania boasts the highest at 15.4Mbps, followed by Croatia with 14.05Mbps and Estonia with 13.75Mbps.
Spotify raises US$526m war chest to do battle with Apple Music
The music streaming wars are about to kick off in spectacular fashion with the news that Spotify – which has just notched up 20m subscribers – has raised a massive funding round of US$526m, valuing it at US$8.5bn.
The fundraising values Spotify at US$8.53bn.
Last night it emerged that Spotify has reached 20m paying subscribers out of 75m active monthly users.
Spotify is understood to be planning to invest the new funding in expansion and, in particular, new forms of content to face off Apple’s new service.
Image of Twitter banner on NYSE in 2013, via Shutterstock