A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with five Irishmen who are on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of people to watch.
Five Irishmen make Forbes 30 Under 30 list
Five Irishmen have made the exclusive Forbes 30 Under 30 list of people to watch for 2014. They include software entrepreneurs and Stripe co-founders John and Patrick Collison, golfer Rory McIlroy, video-games designer Terry Cavanagh and singer Niall Horan from One Direction.
“These founders and funders, brand builders and do-gooders aren’t waiting around for a proper career bump up the establishment ladder. Their ambitions are way bigger – and perfectly suited to the dynamic, entrepreneurial, and impatient digital world they grew up in,” Forbes said.
The list also includes Snapchat co-founder Eric Spiegel (22), actress and social entrepreneur Olivia Wilde (29), Malala Fund co-founder Shiza Shahid (24), musician Bruno Mars (28), tennis player Maria Sharapova( 26), and Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey (21).
European Commission proposes six-month transition period to SEPA
In an effort to minimise disruption to consumers and businesses in Europe, the European Commission has adopted a proposal to allow non-SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) payments to be accepted for an extra six months.
The deadline for businesses to migrate to the SEPA format still remains 1 February.
SEPA is to provide a common payment processing system across the European Union. Business that do not migrate to the SEPA format will be unable to complete credit transfers or direct debits.
The European Commission is urging co-legislators to take up and agree to the six-month extension.
Irish firm Aerogen signs product deal with Philips
Galway-based respiratory drug-delivery company Aerogen has reached a technology access and licence agreement with global healthcare leader Philips for the acquisition of Aerogen’s homecare nebuliser range of products.
Under the deal, Philips will make an initial upfront payment, with further royalty income based on exploitation of the licensed technology.
“This is a key strategic transaction for Aerogen as it allows us to focus on expanding our core business in the acute care setting, while facilitating consistency of care for respiratory patients from hospital to home,” said John Power, CEO of Aerogen.
Microsoft acquires SaaS player Parature for US$100m
In a move likely to increase the competition against Salesforce.com, software giant Microsoft has acquired software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer service player Parature in a deal believed to be worth US$100m.
Parature’s technology enables users to engage with customers across multiple channels, including email, live chat, help desk, and social media.
In what may be a win for Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM (customer relationship management) portfolio, the acquisition will enable Microsoft to link Parature’s functionality with its Office portfolio, no doubt accelerating Microsoft’s collision course with Salesforce.com, which is also endeavouring to bring social-media capabilities into the modern office workflow.
IBM establishes business unit to leverage Watson supercomputer
Tech titan IBM is infusing US$1bn into a new business unit called the IBM Watson Group with an aim to generate more revenue from its supercomputer system Watson.
Michael Rhodin, the former senior vice-president of IBM’s software solutions group, will head the new unit to be based in New York City that will employ about 2,000 people, Reuters reported.
The establishment of the unit follows high demand for cognitive computing, IBM said.
Apple reveals App Store sales topped US$10bn in 2013
Users of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac spent more than US$10bn in Apple’s App Store during 2013, including US$1bn in December alone.
The consumer tech titan revealed it has paid US$15bn to developers in the history of the App Store, which opened in the summer of 2008. Apple takes a 30% cut from all apps sold.
There are now more than 1m apps in the App Store, including 500,000 native iPad apps.
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