The technology business week: EU to create blueprint for SMEs to receive €10k digital vouchers; tablet computers punch PC industry

14 Oct 2013

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

EU to create blueprint for regional SMEs to receive €10k digital vouchers

The European Commission is publishing a new blueprint for micro enterprises and SMEs in various regions to go digital, which will include a measure to provide digital innovation vouchers worth up to €10,000.

Such ICT innovation voucher schemes are being piloted in the Spanish regions of Murcia and Extremadura.

The regional voucher schemes would allow small businesses to exchange their vouchers for specialist ICT services, such as website development, learning how to sell through e-commerce, or adopting more sophisticated ICT tools for business processes, such as supply chain management and customer relations management.

Tablet computers continue to hurt PC industry – Q3 PC sales down 8.6pc

PC sales volumes in the third quarter dropped to their lowest level since 2008, according to Gartner. PC shipments in the third quarter peaked at 80.3m units, down 8.6pc on last year and marking the sixth consecutive quarter of decline.

Traditionally, the third quarter – or the ‘back to school quarter’ – has been one of strong sales for the PC sector, but the arrival of tablet computer devices in school curricula around the world is taking a toll.

“Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.” to acquire education technology company TenMarks

E-commerce titan has struck an agreement to acquire education technology company TenMarks for an undisclosed sum.

“Together, Amazon and TenMarks intend to develop rich educational content and applications, across multiple platforms, that we think teachers, parents and students will love,” said Dave Limp, head of Amazon’s Kindle tablet, e-reader and e-book business.

TenMarks provides personalised online maths practice and instruction to primary and secondary school students, with hints, videos and real-time results that aim to motivate and engage them.

Subject to various closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Trend Micro to enhance networks’ protection with Broadweb acquisition

Security software provider Trend Micro has acquired network security solutions provider Broadweb to enhance network protection against targeted attacks and advanced threats. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Taiwan-based Broadweb’s deep packet inspection and real-time blocking of malicious packets should strengthen Trend Micro’s Custom Defense Solution, which is designed to provide networkwide visibility and protection against targeted attacks and sophisticated advanced threats.

Alcatel-Lucent to cut 10,000 jobs in €1bn cost-saving drive

Telecoms equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent is planning to reduce its staff by 10,000 people as part of a cost-cutting drive to save €1bn. While the company will axe 15,000 positions, it will create 5,000 new ones.

Alcatel-Lucent employs 72,000 people worldwide. According to reports in Les Echos and Le Figaro newspapers, the cuts will impact all regions, with 4,100 cuts planned in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with a further 3,800 in Asia and 2,100 in the Americas.

In France, the company intends to cut 10pc of the domestic workforce – or 900 positions – as well as closing sites at Rennes and Toulouse and selling plants at Eu and Ormes.

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