The tech business week: Irish software firms too slow to scale, eBay’s collection deal with Argos

7 Jul 2014

Edel Creely, Irish Software Association chair and managing director of Trilogy Technologies

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news a report finds Irish software firms just aren’t scaling fast enough, and eBay is to roll out a collection service from Argos stores.

Irish software firms just aren’t scaling fast enough – ISA study

Not enough Irish software companies are making it big, a new study from the Irish Software Association (ISA) reveals, as more collaboration among companies is needed along with more access to finance.

With the number of Irish-owned technology companies continuing to grow, the June 2014 ISA Digital Technology Index estimates there are 806 indigenous companies, with total annual revenues of more than €1.8bn.

Some 82pc of companies identified that collaboration between indigenous companies and multinational companies would stimulate growth, the report suggest, and Edel Creely, ISA chair and managing director of Trilogy Technologies, said Government must enhance tax-based investment schemes and the venture-capital environment, as well as introduce state-backed capital funds.

eBay to roll out collection service from Argos stores

Online auction giant eBay and retailer Argos have agreed to form a partnership whereby a consumer buying an item on eBay will be able to pick it up at an Argos store.

The two companies ran a test trial last year in the UK, encompassing 150 out of 650 Argos stores and 50 specific sellers on eBay. Now, the service will expand across the entire island but there is no word as of yet if or when the service will be available in Ireland.

To avail of the service, a customer simply selects the purchase and collect option on eBay, chooses his or her nearest Argos store, and within three days the item will be available to collect, The Guardian reported.

Google acquires music-streaming service Songza for undisclosed sum

Internet search giant Google has bought music-streaming service Songza for an undisclosed sum.

Songza adds a layer of intelligence in terms of hooking up listeners with the songs they want, by using a contextual expert-created playlist to give listeners the right music at the right time.

The acquisition could lead to Google adding clever new music-discovery tools to services, such as YouTube and Google Play Music.

Twitter acquires ad firm TapCommerce for US$100m

Microblogging site Twitter is in the latter stages of its latest acquisition, online ad firm TapCommerce, for US$100m.

TapCommerce focuses on retargeting and re-engagement through smartphones, and Twitter hopes to use its software and services to keep its advertising strategies on track and to target users by getting them to revisit apps they have downloaded and, perhaps, gotten tired of until now.

Twitter will integrate TapCommerce’s technology into Twitter’s own mobile advertising program, MoPub.

Facebook acquires video ad company LiveRail for up to US$500m

Social network Facebook has purchased online video-advertising agency LiveRail for US$400m-US$500m.

Dealing with more than 200 companies, LiveRail claims to target 7bn video adverts to visitors of their client’s websites each month. Under the acquisition, LiveRail will still operate under its own name, according to TechCrunch.

The first thing Facebook will implement from LiveRail’s technology is its auto-play video ads, which will now be able to target users better, in terms of their tastes and interests.

Xiaomi has increased sales of handsets 271pc in one year

One of the fastest-growing mobile retailers, Xiaomi, has sold about 26.1m handsets so far this year, as the company attempts to break into a limited market.

Going by this number, this is an increase on last year’s figures of 271pc in the same time period, according to CNet.

Despite the overall shipments of mobile phones in China slowing in the first quarter of this year by 24.7pc to 100m units, the Chinese government has said Xiaomi is bucking this trend considerably, with 11pc of the country’s smartphone shipments during this time coming from the company, making it the third-largest manufacturer in China.

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