The technology business week

20 Aug 2012

UK business watchdog gives thumbs up to Facebook's US$1bn acquisition of Instagram

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

UK business watchdog gives thumbs up to Facebook’s US$1bn acquisition of Instagram

Facebook’s US$1bn acquisition of photo-sharing app service Instagram has been approved by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading.

The OFT began probing the acquisition two months ago after it voiced concerns that following the Facebook acquisition it may shut off the sharing capabilities with other social networks, like Twitter.

However, it has clearly found no grounds for such fears.

In January 2011, Instagram added hashtags, cementing its presence in the Twitterverse.

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg broke the news that the social network had acquired Instagram for about US$1bn.

Google to acquire Frommer’s travel guidebooks

Google is snapping up the range of travel guidebooks by Frommer’s from John Wiley & Sons Inc for an undisclosed sum, as the internet search giant strives to become the online destination for travellers.

The acquisition, which is expected to close shortly, will fuse the travel publisher’s database of sights and accommodations into a company that wants its services present across the entire trip-planning process.

This latest acquisition comes almost a year after Google spent US$151m to buy Zagat Survey, the provider of hotel, restaurant and nightclub reviews in cities around the globe.

IBM to acquire flash memory solutions developer Texas Memory Systems

Technology giant IBM has entered into an agreement to acquire a developer of flash memory solutions, Texas Memory Systems (TMS), for an undisclosed sum.

“The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our Smarter Computing approach to information technology by helping clients realise increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs,” said Brian Truskowski, general manager, Systems Storage and Networking, IBM.

TMS is a privately held company based in Houston, Texas, that designs and sells high-performance solid state storage solutions.

Solid state systems are high-speed data storage solutions based on Flash or RAM memory that can provide faster throughput and data access while consuming less power, IBM said.

Once the deal closes, IBM plans to invest in and support the TMS product portfolio, and will seek to integrate TMS technologies into various solutions, including storage, servers, software, and PureSystems offerings.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

Global mobile phone sales fall 2.3pc during second quarter, Gartner says

Analyst firm Gartner has reported that worldwide sales of mobile phones reached 419m in the second quarter of 2012, a decline of 2.3pc. Smartphones now account for 36.7pc of total mobile phone sales.

Samsung blazed a trail in the second quarter, with mobile phone sales up 29.5pc from the same time last year and outselling both Apple and Nokia.

Galaxy smartphones now account for 50.4pc of all Samsung mobile phone sales – some 45.6m units. The Galaxy S III exceeded Samsung’s own expectations, with 10m devices sold in the first two months – the best-selling Android smartphone of the quarter.

In the second quarter, demand for the Apple iPhone weakened, with sales falling 12.6pc from the first quarter – but these were up 47.4pc year-on-year.

This may be due to consumers holding onto their cash to buy the forthcoming next-generation iPhone, aka the iPhone 5. Q4 sales of the iPhone in the US and North America are traditionally immune to the economic climate.

Motorola Mobility to cut jobs, close offices

Mobile device maker Motorola Mobility is to cut 20pc of its workforce and close up shop at about a third of its 94 offices worldwide in an exit from unprofitable markets.

The company will also narrow its focus to a few mobile phones instead of dozens, and will stop making low-end devices,The New York Times reported chief executive Dennis Woodside as saying.

These cuts are behind the plans of Motorola Mobility’s parent company, internet search giant Google, to revamp the company that is trailing behind smartphone giants Apple and Samsung.

Google has also made changes to Motorola’s management, having let go 40pc of the company’s vice-presidents and having hired new senior executives, The New York Times report said.

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