The technology business week: digital economy for Ireland’s recovery, Irish firms net more than €6m in export sales

19 Nov 2012

Digital economy will help ensure Ireland's economic recovery, Rabbitte says

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

Digital economy will help ensure Ireland’s economic recovery, Rabbitte says

The digital economy has the potential to contribute €11.3bn annually to the Irish economy by 2016 and add 18,000 jobs, Ireland’s Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said, urging the need to seize the opportunity of the internet to contribute to the nation’s economic renewal and recovery.

Rabbitte was speaking in relation to new research by Amarach, commissioned by UPC, that identified the internet will contribute €11.3bn to the Irish economy by 2016, up from €4.7bn in 2010.

“We know that key ingredients in achieving our potential are high-speed broadband and digital participation – by citizens and businesses. As a progressive knowledge economy, trading goods and services globally, we need to be better connected than most in the world and we need to embrace the opportunities the internet makes possible,” Rabbitte said.

Irish companies secure more than €6m in new export sales in South Africa

Irish companies participating in last week’s Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa have secured new contracts worth more than €6m and have agreed to significant business alliances across various sectors.

Ireland’s Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello, TD, who led the trade mission, also launched two industry expert panels, in financial services and in telecommunications, that will support Irish companies seeking to win new business in South Africa in those sectors. 

The focus of the trade mission had been on the ICT, international education and financial services sectors.

ESB raises €500m on bond markets to fund capital investment plan

The ESB has raised €500m by selling a seven-year bond and will repay investors 4.37pc. Ireland’s incumbent electricity provider said it will use the funding to support its capital investment programme in Ireland, which includes investments in the networks and renewable energy generation.

It said that the proceeds from the bond will also be used to refinance some of the ESB’s existing debt.

The funding will also enable the ESB to attract international capital for infrastructure investment in Ireland.

Vodafone makes stg£6bn write-down over tough market conditions in Southern Europe

Vodafone Group has incurred a total impairment charge of stg£5.9bn because of tough market conditions in Spain and Italy, the company said on the release of its half-year 2012 results.

Group revenue was up 7.2pc to stg£21.7bn but because of troubled market conditions in Southern Europe, where service revenues were down 18.1pc to stg£4.9bn, the group reported an overall loss of stg£1.8bn for the first half of 2012.

In Ireland, Vodafone said smartphones and data usage drove growth for the company, with the number of customers using smartphones on the network increasing 6.7pc to 877,600 users – 43.4pc of its total base.

As of the quarter ending 30 September, Vodafone Ireland’s contract base stood at 760,600, up 1.1pc.

Fixed-line voice and broadband subscriptions were flat at 242,000 at the end of the quarter.

Cisco to acquire software company Cloupia

Computer-networking equipment maker Cisco has revealed it intends to acquire software company Cloupia in a deal worth US$125m in cash and retention-based incentives.

Cloupia’s infrastructure management software is expected to enhance Cisco’s Unified Computing System and Nexus switching portfolio with a single ‘pane-of-glass’ view into the automation of compute, network, storage, virtual machine and operating system resources.

Under the deal, Cloupia employees will be integrated into Cisco’s Data Center Group. 

The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2013. 

Accenture strikes US$13m contract with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Technology consulting firm Accenture has landed a five-year, US$13m contract with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to redesign and improve the architecture of public websites, online tools used most frequently by the public, and the agency’s employee intranet.

Accenture Federal Services will carry out the contract and its work will support initiatives at SEC to enhance its technology infrastructure.

Upgrades and enhancements are to be made to and, as well as the SEC’s employee intranet, which is used by more than 3,800 internal users on the SEC network.

Major leadership reshuffle at Microsoft – Sinofsky to leave company

Within weeks of launching Windows 8, Microsoft has revealed that the man who masterminded the new operating system’s delivery, Steven Sinofsky, is to leave the company. Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering.

CFO Tami Reller will retain her role as CFO and chief marketing officer and assume all responsibility for the business of Windows.

Both Reller and Larson-Green will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

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