The technology business week: Ireland ranks in top locations for BPO, FTC won’t charge Google in anti-trust probe

7 Jan 2013

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

Ireland listed among top FDI locations for BPO and managed services

Ireland has been named as one of the top 5 locations in the world for business services investments – an area that touches on foreign direct investments in the areas of IT, financial services, customer care, software-as-a-service, cloud computing and server farm solutions. said that Ireland along with Iceland, Malta, Spain and Egypt were countries that put considerable effort into promoting themselves as ideal places to relocate BPO (business process outsourcing) and managed services companies.

It listed the five locations as primed to deliver return on investment and value for money for investors.

Google escapes charges in FTC anti-trust probe

Following a 19-month anti-trust investigation into Google’s search engine practices to investigate whether the company manipulated search results to disadvantage competitors, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced it won’t be bringing charges against the search giant. However, Google has agreed to change some of its business practices.

After an investigation that lasted almost 20 months, the FTC has cleared Google of manipulating its search engine results to favour its own products and services and push competitors down the rankings.

However, Google has agreed to legally binding changes with the FTC to the way it presents some search results and runs its search engine advertising.

As part of the FTC settlement, Google has promised to stop using certain smartphone patents to block competitors’ mobile gadgets.

Twitter valued at US$11bn, IPO projected for 2014

Twitter could already be worth around US$11bn and is likely to go public in either late 2013 or early 2014, according to financial research firm Greencrest. It has also been speculated that tech giant Apple may be interested in buying Twitter.

Greencrest arrived at the valuation after probing secondary markets where shares are sold privately.

It appears Twitter is keen to avoid the disruption caused by Facebook’s troubled US$100bn IPO in May and will wait until 2014 when it can be judged on its own merits and performance.

Greencrest analyst Max Wolff said Twitter may not even make it to IPO if Apple buys the company.

RIM sells NewBay at a loss to Synchronoss for US$55.5m

Just over a year after buying Irish mobile software company NewBay for US$100m, troubled Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion (RIM) has sold the company to expanding mobile cloud operator Synchronoss for a reduced sum of US$55.5m in cash, nearly half of what it paid for the company more than a year ago.

RIM sold NewBay during the Christmas holidays.

The acquisition will give Synchronoss, a New Jersey-headquartered company, considerable capabilities in mobile platform enablement.

Microsoft beats Google and Apple in acquiring start-up R2 Studios

Microsoft has trumped fellow tech giants Apple and Google to acquire home entertainment technology start-up R2 Studios for an undisclosed sum, including patents for controlling certain electronic devices.

R2 Studios has been working on ways to display content on TVs, which could tie in nicely with Xbox’s focus of adding TV entertainment to its gaming console, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Neither Microsoft or R2 Studios has commented on the acquisition, though several reports have said Google and Apple had been in talks with R2 Studios about a possible acquisition before Microsoft snatched it up.

Pinterest acquires recipe-sharing network Punchfork

Punchfork CEO Jeff Miller has announced the company’s acquisition by Pinterest. The two-year-old start-up will now join one of the fastest-growing online communities to date.

In January 2012, Pinterest became the fastest site ever to reach over 10m unique visitors and Punchfork is just one of a slew of Pinterest-style websites that tried to follow in its massively successful footsteps. Founded in January 2011, Punchfork focuses on allowing users to share high-quality home cook recipes online in an attractive and easy-to-use format.

Among other things, Pinterest is a base for recipe-sharing, featuring a Food & Drink category and innumerable boards filled with recipes pinned from across the web.

Support for Punchfork will continue for now but pretty soon the site, its mobile apps and its API will be no more.

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Business services image via Shutterstock