The tech business week: Eircom’s financial results, Apple to pay US$532.9m in lawsuit

2 Mar 2015

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news telecoms operator Eircom’s fibre uptake outpaced ordinary broadband in the second quarter.

Eircom reports fibre uptake outpaced ordinary broadband in Q2

Eircom has reported broadband connections were up 8pc to 748,000 in the second quarter, including 30,000 new fibre customers. It said 19pc of premises are now passed by fibre and it now has 202,000 fibre customers.

The operator reported a 4pc fall in second quarter revenue of €316m. Eircom reported second quarter EBITDA of €112m, down 3pc year on year but in line with expectations.

Indications are that fibre momentum is outpacing demand for standard copper-based broadband. Eircom reported 17,000 broadband connections in the quarter, up 8pc.

However, it reported 202,000 fibre customers, up 30,000 during the quarter.

Apple to pay US$532.9m in lawsuit over iTunes copyright infringement

Consumer tech giant Apple has been hit with a US$532.9m bill after a US federal jury found the company’s iTunes software used Texas-based Smartflash LLC’s patented inventions without permission.

Smartflash LLC had taken Apple to court over what it believed were obvious copies of its data storage and access to payments technologies which it had patented in products including Game Circus LLC’s Coin Dozer and 4 Pics 1 Movie, according to Bloomberg. Smartflash believes Apple would have gotten access to its software used in iTunes as a result of Apple executives being given a briefing on how it worked more than 10 years ago.

Having asked for US$852m, Smartflash believed it was entitled to a percentage of the sale of any Apple device that would have had access to the iTunes software, which is effectively every iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac computer.

Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting Apple’s patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented.

Wi-fidelity – HP in talks to buy Aruba Networks for over US$2bn

Hewlett-Packard is understood to be in talks to acquire Wi-Fi infrastructure player Aruba Networks in a move that would bring HP closer to wireless infrastructure in hotels, airports and universities.

Aruba, which makes hardware and software to run Wi-Fi networks in a reliable way, is valued at more than US$2bn and news of the acquisition sent the company’s shares flying 21pc to US$22.24.

The acquisition would bring HP directly to the network interface between smartphone and computer users in public places, including airports and hotels, as well as offices and universities.

Pebble surpasses US$7.7m in Kickstarter campaign for new smartwatch in just 12 hours

Smartwatch maker Pebble returned to Kickstarter for its new Pebble Time colour e-paper smartwatch and ended up passing its US$500,000 goal in 17 minutes, raising US$7.7m after 12 hours.

The Kickstarter campaign began at 3pm Irish and UK time on 24 February and within half an hour became the fastest Kickstarter campaign to hit US$1m. Within 58 minutes, the amount of funding raised surpassed US$2m.

Pebble offered the watch for US$159 for the first 5,000 early bird backers. The final price when the watch launches in May will be US$199.

Android and iOS dominate smartphone economy – own 96.3pc of overall OS market

Android and iOS dominate the overall operating systems market for smartphones, with the two operating systems accounting for 96.3pc of all smartphone shipments, according to IDC.

In terms of year-over-year shipment growth, Android outpaced the overall smartphone market for 2014 (32pc in 2014 vs 27.7pc in 2013) while iOS beat the market in the fourth quarter of 2014 (46.1pc in 2014 vs 29.2pc in 2013).

“Many of the same drivers were in play for Android and iOS to tighten their grip on the market,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s mobile phone team. “A combination of strong end-user demand, refreshed product portfolios, and the availability of low-cost devices – particularly for Android – drove volumes higher.”

Twitter’s head of developer relations to leave company

Twitter’s head of developer and platform relations, Jeff Sandquist, has announced he is to leave his post after 18 months with the company.

Re/code first reported the news which has since been confirmed by Sandquist himself via his own Twitter account.

Sandquist has been based in the social networks San Francisco, California, offices and his tenure included the launch of Fabric, a software development kit that, essentially, makes development, reporting, authentication and monetisation of apps easier.

Prior to joining Twitter, Sandquist held several different positions at Microsoft. The reasons behind his decision to leave his current employer, or where he might end up next, are not clear at this point.

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