The technology business week: Aer Lingus confirms direct flights to San Francisco, Toronto; few Irish SMEs see e-commerce as vital

8 Jul 2013

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller and Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar celebrate the return of Aer Lingus direct flights to San Francisco. The airline will also fly directly to Toronto. Photo by Jason Clarke Photography

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

Aer Lingus confirms the return of direct flights to San Francisco

Aer Lingus has confirmed that direct flights to San Francisco, California, will resume in April 2014, as well as the addition of a new route serving Toronto, Ontario.

The Dublin to San Francisco route will be available year-round, with five services per week. There will also be daily flights to Toronto during the peak summer period and four times per week in the winter.

Aer Lingus also plans to increase the frequency of routes to America’s east coast, adding connections from Shannon to Boston and New York.

Just one in six Irish businesses views e-commerce as vital for growth – report

Irish firms are lagging when it comes to the digital economy, with just one in six Irish small and medium-sized enterprises using e-commerce to grow internationally, a report by the Irish International Business Network suggests.

The report revealed the average Irish adult now spends €1,392 per year online. Yet, only 16.2pc of Irish business people – compared to 25.8pc of British business people – believe that investing in international e-commerce can help develop their businesses, according to the report.

Irish businesses are ahead of UK businesses in one respect: exporting. Sixty per cent of Irish-based businesses said they export their products/services, compared to 40pc of those in the UK.

Ericsson to snap up Red Bee Media, expanding operations in UK and Australia

Communications technology giant Ericsson is to acquire the UK-headquartered digital media services company Red Bee Media.

The latter company, a spin-out from the BBC’s Broadcast division, employs 1,500 people in both the UK and Australia. Ericsson is now planning to add new operations in both Europe and Australia.

While Ericsson has not revealed the financial details of the acquisition, it has indicated that the 1,500 broadcast services professionals who already work at Red Bee Media will come under its wing.

Ericsson is hoping the buy-out will enhance its broadcast services portfolio and help the company further expand its capabilities in the TV industry.

Nokia to buy Siemens’ 50pc share in Nokia Siemens Networks

Smartphone-maker Nokia is to acquire Siemens’ 50pc stake in their joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks, for about €1.7bn.

With the close of the acquisition – which is expected in the third quarter of this year – Nokia Siemens Networks will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Nokia.

Under the deal, the Siemens name will be phased out from Nokia Siemens Networks’ company name and branding. A new name and brand is expected to be announced when the acquisition is complete.

HP to cut 280 jobs in Dublin as Barclaycard contract concludes

Hewlett-Packard is to cut 280 jobs in Sandyford in Dublin in the coming year after Barclaycard made the decision to move support services closer to customers in Portugal and Italy.

The decision will affect about 220 full-time and 60 contract workers.

Staff at the facility were employed solely to provide support for Barclaycard. The contract comes to an end on 31 March.

It is understood HP will attempt to redeploy as many of the affected workers as possible within existing operations.

UTV appoints Keith Lacy as Simply Zesty CEO

UTV has named Keith Lacy as CEO of its digital agency Simply Zesty and head of digital media development for UTV Media in Ireland.

Lacy’s new responsibilities will include working with Nigel Robbins, director of UTV Media, to develop UTV’s digital presence in Ireland.

Lacy takes over the CEO role from Ken Fitzpatrick, who was recently announced as the new CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute in Dublin.

Previously, Lacy served as board account director at Cybercom. He also previously helped establish in Ireland.

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