The technology business week: internet drives global growth, Dublin firm Fleetmatics IPOs on NYSE

8 Oct 2012

Internet is the motor engine of global growth in the 21st century - OECD

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

Internet is the motor engine of global growth in the 21st century – OECD

The top 250 ICT firms by revenue boosted employment by 4pc in 2010 and 6pc in 2011, with hiring growing the fastest among internet firms which grew employment by 29pc, according to the OECD Internet Economy Outlook 2012.

Google and Amazon added 50pc more employees between 2010 and 2011.

According to the OECD study, the internet economy now accounts for 13pc of American business output. This underlines the importance of the internet as an important source of growth in a period of economic downturn and a core component of the broader economy.

The report claims that if the internet grows 1pc faster in one of two otherwise identical countries, GDP growth in the country with more internet growth will be up to 0.025pc higher.

ICT sector employment is highest in the US, accounting for more than 30pc of the OECD total, followed by Japan (16pc) and Germany (9pc).

Electronics and communications equipment firms accounted for the largest share of R&D investment in 2011 by the top 250 firms, with almost 50pc (US$46bn and US$28bn, respectively). Semiconductors accounted for 16pc (US$26bn), followed by software and IT equipment firms with an average of around 13pc each (US$22bn).

Dublin firm Fleetmatics IPOs on New York Stock Exchange

Dublin-headquartered fleet management technology firm Fleetmatics has made its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, offering some 7.8m shares at US$17 per share.

The flotation was to raise around US$133m (€102m) for Fleetmatics.

The company’s low-cost web solution provides businesses with visibility into vehicle location, fuel usage, speed and mileage and other insights into their mobile workforces.

Fleetmatics serves 15,000 customers around the world and tracks some 250,000 vehicles.

Its technologies are sold and marketed under both the Fleetmatics and SageQuest brands.

The shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on 5 October under the symbol FLTX.

Vodafone acquires Irish telco Complete Telecom for undisclosed sum

Vodafone has acquired Kevin Murphy’s Complete Telecom for an undisclosed sum. Complete Telecom’s 26 staff will now become employees of Vodafone. Vodafone says it expects to double revenues in the enterprise solutions space in the coming year.

It is understood that Complete Telecom recorded a turnover of €9m last year.

A spokesperson for Vodafone explained that the acquisition will allow Vodafone to drive a new division that will focus on providing managed and bespoke solutions to larger enterprise players such as government bodies.

Jack Dorsey’s Square buys New York design firm 80/20

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s mobile payments company Square has bought a design company in New York called 80/20, signalling the growing importance of good industrial design in winning the hearts and pockets of today’s technology consumer.

Square manufactures a tiny little device that connects with an iPhone or iPad and allows businesspeople or consumers to accept credit card payments by swiping the card through the device.

80/20 describes its mission thus: “We conceptualise, research, design, develop and deploy solutions that set new standards in user experience.”

“The natural next step for 80/20 is to commit our focus to one company, and Square is a perfect fit,” the company’s website reads. “Square shares our passion for using technology and design to improve people’s lives. Together, we will re-imagine and redesign how people communicate through commerce everyday, all around the world.”

Nokia may sell Finnish global headquarters building

Smartphone maker Nokia may sell its global headquarters, Nokia House, in Espoo, Finland, for up to €300m, Finnish-language Helsingen Sanomat has reported.

A spokesperson for Nokia, which has been scaling back operations to cut €1.5bn (US$2bn) in costs by the end of next year, confirmed to TechCrunch that the company is considering the sale, but it may lease back the same building. Nokia does not plan to leave Finland in the process.

Steps Nokia has taken to return to profitability include cutting 10,000 jobs and closing facilities in Finland, Canada and Germany.

In July, the company reported a €826m (US$1bn) operating loss for the second quarter.

Eircom chairman to step down at end of 2012

Telecoms company Eircom’s chairman Ned Sullivan is to step down from his role at the end of the year for personal reasons.

On 2 October, Sullivan informed the board of his decision to move on.

“The role of chairman requires an ongoing time commitment which I am no longer in a position to make. It has been a great privilege to lead the board through the many challenges and changes which have faced the company during the past number of years,” Sullivan said.

Eircom CEO Herb Hribar, on behalf of the board, said they respect Sullivan’s decision to step down.

Virtual business image via Shutterstock

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