The technology business week: Microsoft investors want Bill Gates out as chairperson; Twitter IPO now official

7 Oct 2013

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates

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

Microsoft investors want Bill Gates to step down as chairperson

Three of Microsoft’s top 20 investors are pushing for the company’s co-founder Bill Gates to be ousted as chair amid concerns he wields too much influence.

The three investors in question hold more than 5% of the company’s stock, news agency Reuters reported. Gates himself owns 4.5% of the company and is its largest individual shareholder.

Sources have told Reuters that key shareholders are lobbying Microsoft’s board for Gates to step down. They are concerned that, in this role, Gates is inhibiting the adoption of new strategies and also that he will limit the ability of the next-appointed CEO to make changes.

Twitter IPO now official – plans to raise up to US$1bn

Social network Twitter’s prospectus about its plans for an IPO has been made public and the company aims to raise up to US$1bn in a flotation that could value it as much as US$20bn.

The timing of the prospectus’ publication – usually followed three weeks later by an investor roadshow – suggests trading in mid to late November.

The company’s ticker symbol will be TWTR but it is not clear whether it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ exchange.

Google acquires ‘gesture-recognition’ start-up Flutter

Internet search giant Google has acquired Flutter, a start-up aiming to pioneer gesture-recognition technology, for a reported US$40m.

Flutter co-founder and CEO Navneet Dalal has confirmed the acquisition in a blog post.

Dalal, who co-founded Flutter in 2010 along with Mehul Nariyawala, said the company is “thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our research at Google”.

“We share Google’s passion for 10x thinking, and we’re excited to add their rocket fuel to our journey.”

IBM to acquire Irish tech firm The Now Factory for an undisclosed sum

The Now Factory, an Irish company providing communications firms like telcos and internet service providers with analytics software, has been acquired by IBM for an undisclosed sum.

Telecoms firms from 29 countries use The Now Factory’s technology to engage with more than 500m customers. The challenge these companies face is analysing the enormous amount of data that smartphones and tablets are producing.

The acquisition is part of IBM’s long-term strategy to support strong expected growth in big data and analytics.

Worldwide shipments of 3D printers to rise 49pc this year – Gartner

Global shipments of 3D printers (3DPs) priced less than US$100,000 will grow by 49pc in 2013 to reach a total of 56,507 units, according to information technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.

Innovations in quality and performance across all 3DP technologies will drive demand from both consumers and enterprise, Gartner predicted.

Gartner said shipments will increase further next year, growing 75pc to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015. 

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