The technology business week

30 Jul 2012

ITLG president and founder John Hartnett with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Belfast recently

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

Obama administration selects ITLG to spearhead global engagement with diaspora

The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) has been selected by US President Barack Obama’s administration to spearhead US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Global Diaspora Forum which aims to engage with not only the Irish diaspora but the diaspora from India, China, Israel and other nations.

In Washington recently, John Hartnett, president and founder of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, announced the launch of a Silicon Valley base for the International diaspora Engagement Alliance at the U.S. Secretary of State’s Second Annual Global Diaspora Forum.

Speaking on a panel following Clinton, Hartnett discussed the prospects for global diaspora engagement in Silicon Valley.

“The global diaspora is a critical part of the secretary’s strategy for development and diplomacy, and I am honoured to lead outreach with Silicon Valley Global Diaspora,” said Hartnett at the forum.

“Silicon Valley continues to be the No 1 destination for global entrepreneurs from around the world and it is an integral part of the US strategy to unite the global diaspora.”

Apple Q3 revenues surpass US$35bn, sells 26m iPhones and 17m iPads

Tech giant Apple has reported Q3 revenues of US$35bn and a US$8.8bn profit.

The performance compares with revenues of US$28.6bn and net profit of US$7.3bn during the same quarter last year.

Apple sold 26m iPhone devices in the quarter, up 28pc year-on-year and 17m iPad devices, up 84pc year-on-year. Apple sold 4m Macs during the quarter, a 2pc unit increase over last year and it sold 6.8m iPods, a 10pct unit decline from a year ago.

“We’re thrilled with record sales of 17m iPads in the June quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, on Tuesday.

“We’ve also just updated the entire MacBook line, will release Mountain Lion tomorrow and will be launching iOS 6 this fall. We are also really looking forward to the amazing new products we’ve got in the pipeline.”

Gross margin was 42.8pc compared to 41.7pc last year. International sales accounted for 62pc of the quarter’s revenue.

Facebook’s first public results show it still has a mountain to climb

In eight years, Facebook has amassed an audience of 955m monthly active users around the world and posted on Thursday revenues of US$1.1bn – an amazing achievement. However, under the forensic spotlight of Wall Street it is now at the mercy of investor sentiment and whether investors judge it’s growing fast enough.

Rather than making profits at this stage, Facebook is making losses of US$743m from operations and a net loss overall of US$157m.

The milestone of 955m monthly active users – up 29pc year on year – indicates that overall Facebook has almost one-seventh of the world’s population using its site every month.

Daily active users stood at 552m at the end of June, up 32pc year on year, while mobile active users jumped an incredible 67pc to 543m users. Again, no mean feat.

In terms of capital expenditure, the company’s spending has tripled to US$413m during the second quarter.

The revenues of US$1.18bn were up 32pc on last year. Advertising represented 84pc of total revenue with payment and other fees contributing US$192m.

Now a public company, Facebook is struggling with the added pressure of maintaining a share price that has fallen a third of its value since it debuted at US$38 in May.

The social network is no doubt doing incredible things and its best days lie ahead in terms of innovation and user growth.

But by putting itself under the forensic glare of Wall Street, the mountain it has to climb next will involve proving it is growing in different ways than the pell-mell user growth of recent years. Like its advertisers, its investors will want a decent return on investment.

Cisco announces more job cuts – 1,300 staff to go

Computer-networking equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc is to shed 1,300 jobs, as a result of the European debt crisis and staid sales in the face of weaker corporate spending, a year after announcing thousands of layoffs.

These latest job cuts represent 2pc of Cisco’s 65,000 employees.

The cuts are part of a continuous process of simplifying the company and assessing the economic environment in certain parts of the world, Cisco said in a statement. It not specify what parts of the company will lose the jobs.

These cuts follow last year’s news of the loss of some 6,500 jobs, or 9pc of Cisco’s full-time workforce, to help reduce US$1bn in annual costs and increase profit growth.

VMware buys cloud infrastructure player Nicira Inc for US$1.26bn in cash and equity

Virtualisation giant VMware has acquired cloud firm Nicira Inc for US$1.05bn in cash plus an additional US$210m in equity.

IT architecture player Nicira Inc is a pioneer in the area of software-defined networking, as well as network virtualisation for open-source initiatives. Its technology is also instrumental in the realm of agile computing and allowing data centre providers to grow and shrink resources as needed.

The boards of both companies have approved the acquisition and now it is subject to regulatory approval.

“Nicira helps customers dramatically improve business velocity and efficiency by transforming how networking works in the cloud era,” said Steve Mullaney, chief executive officer, Nicira.

“I’m thrilled to be joining forces with VMware to help build the software-defined data centre.”

The acquisition expands VMware’s networking portfolio and will allow its customers to create a pool of network capacity on top of any network infrastructure to support tens of thousands of isolated virtual networks.

Former failed Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson lands new CEO job

Scott Thompson, Yahoo!’s former CEO who resigned from that job a week after allegations emerged that he had added a fake computer science degree to his official biography, has landed a new CEO role – this time at shopping network ShopRunner.

Thompson resigned from Yahoo! in May after only five months as its CEO, citing “personal reasons”, to be replaced in the interim by Ross Levinsohn. Just recently, Yahoo! announced it had appointed former Google executive Marissa Mayer as its new CEO.

ShopRunner, which allows retailers to offer shopping services to members, said Thompson joins the company while it is enjoying fast growth and added it is “the ideal time to bring on a new leader to further accelerate the company’s expansion”.

Current CEO and co-founder Mike Golden will remain at ShopRunner as its president.

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