The tech business week: ESA picks Lero, Version 1 buys Patech Solutions

19 Jan 2015

Prof Mike Hinchey, director, Lero

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the ESA tapping Lero to develop software for specialist microchips built for space missions.

Irish software research centre Lero chips in on €400,000 ESA contract

The European Space Agency (ESA) has drafted Irish software research centre Lero to develop software for specialist microchips built for space missions as part of a research programme worth €400,000.

The 18-month programme will be led by Lero director Prof Mike Hinchey, a consultant to US space agency NASA, who will have been primed for this mission in his previous role as director of the software engineering laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the US.

Work begins this month and will involve collaborating with Cobham Gaisler AB, a Swedish chip manufacturer.

Version 1’s UK expansion continues with the acquisition of Patech Solutions

Version 1’s avowed strategy to become a €1bn software and services giant continues with the news the company has acquired Birmingham, UK-based company Patech Solutions for an undisclosed sum.

A key reason for the acquisition is Patech’s significant experience with the Oracle E-Business Suite product stack and associated technologies.

The acquisition will see Version 1 strengthen its position as a leading Oracle partner in the UK and Ireland.

AIB confirms 170 IT workers’ jobs will transfer to Eircom, Wipro and Integrity

AIB has confirmed 170 IT workers are to be transferred to three IT outsourcing providers, including Eircom, Wipro and Integrity. It is understood that no redundancies will be made among the IT workers.

The outsourcing arrangement is understood to have been made under a cost-reduction strategy entitled ‘Project Orion.’

A review of IT services at the bank is understood to be ongoing.

Etsy crafting an IPO for this quarter – report

Online crafts retailer Etsy Inc is looking to raise US$300m for an IPO that could take place this quarter and be the largest tech IPO to come out of New York in 16 years.

Bloomberg, in quoting people familiar with the matter, reported that Etsy is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley on the IPO.

Etsy is likely to release a prospectus for the IPO this month with more financial details, though according to its website, the company posted US$1.3bn in gross merchandise sales in 2013.

Bloomberg reported that Etsy is one of several e-commerce start-ups that have been valued at more than US$1bn.

Apple, Google settle Silicon Valley poaching lawsuit for US$415m

Four of Silicon Valley’s largest tech firms have agreed to pay US$415m to a number of former employees who, in an antitrust class action lawsuit, claimed the companies restricted them from changing jobs.

As we reported last week, an almost four-year legal battle drew to a close after plaintiffs agreed to settle with Intel, Google, Apple and Adobe Systems. The plaintiffs had accused the four firms of conspiring to stop their movement as employees between companies in the tech sector so as to not obtain each other’s internal operations and, as a result, keeping a lid on salaries.

Despite the companies agreeing to a settlement of US$324.5m to end the dispute last year, US District Judge Lucy Koh rejected this offer as being too low. Now Reuters has revealed the final figure to be US$415m.

Google now looking to lock down domain registry with new service

Internet search giant Google is getting in on the domain registry act with Google Domains, including blogging integration and 60 different web address suffixes.

Having first announced its intentions to move into domain registry back in June of last year, Google could soon be effectively running the internet, as small businesses looking to establish an online presence will now be able to avail of its vast resources.

As part of Google Domains, Google even offers web design templates, having partnered last year with some of the web’s biggest online web design providers, including Fix, Weebly and Squarespace.

Until recently, US users were only able to avail of the service via invite, but now this restriction has been lifted. In terms of the rest of the world, Google said it will notify individual countries prior to the availability of Google Domains.

Financial results this week

Tech giant IBM and streaming service Netflix are scheduled to release their fourth-quarter 2014 financial results tomorrow, while online auction giant eBay is due to do the same on Wednesday.

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