The technology business week: Three’s 4G network goes live, FleetMatics takes root in Netherlands

27 Jan 2014

Ireland's international football team captain Robbie Keane and Three's 4G ambassador kicks a ball with kids as part of Three's 4G launch for 27 January

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the launch of Three’s 4G network in Irish cities today.

Three’s 4G network goes live – free 4G for all customers for six months

Mobile operator Three will launch its 4G network today, which will cover 60pc of the cities of Galway, Limerick and Waterford, and 40pc of the cities of Dublin and Cork at launch.

Three, which is attempting to acquire O2 Ireland for €850m, said both its billpay and prepay customers will receive 4G access for free until 31 July.

All existing customers with 4G-compatible phones will be able to experience 4G after a quick software update without having to change their tariff or SIM.

FleetMatics expands into mainland Europe with beachhead in Netherlands

Irish mobile fleet management technology player FleetMatics has begun its expansion into mainland Europe, with the establishment of an operation in the Netherlands.

FleetMatics’ technology has so far been adopted in the UK and Ireland, as well as North America and parts of Australia.

FleetMatics has evolved to embrace smartphone and cloud-delivery technology and the information it provides fleet owners is invaluable in terms of how driver behaviour is influencing fuel costs, for example.

IBM plans staff cuts in response to seventh consecutive dip in revenue

Technology and consulting firm IBM reported revenue of US$27.7bn in Q4 2013, noting a decrease of 5pc (or 3pc when adjusted for currency). This marks the company’s seventh quarterly decline in a row and is largely attributed to its struggling hardware division.

Revenue for IBM’s hardware segment dropped a significant 27pc in Q4 2013, dragging down better-performing businesses, such as software and cloud services.

The company also revealed plans to sacrifice bonuses for senior staff and Martin Schroeter, chief financial officer, revealed job cuts are on the way, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Lenovo agrees to buy IBM’s x86 server business for US$2.3bn

Lenovo has confirmed it is to buy IBM’s x86 server business for about US$2.3bn. Lenovo will pay US$2bn in cash and the balance will be paid in Lenovo stock.

IBM is seeking to exit low-margin businesses like it did with its PC division, which it sold to Lenovo in 2005 for around US$1.75bn.

“This acquisition demonstrates our willingness to invest in businesses that can help fuel profitable growth and extend our PC Plus strategy,” said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO, Lenovo.

Yahoo! acquires mobile marketing company Sparq

Internet giant Yahoo! has purchased mobile marketing company Sparq for an undisclosed sum as part of its new mobile strategy.

Yahoo! hopes Sparq will give it the experience the Seattle start-up has developed in easier inter-app movement. In other words, it helps users consume more mobile content.

Another factor that Yahoo! has considered important is how Sparq has monetised its inter-app technology as a means of raising advertising revenue through selecting particular links.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is one of world’s youngest billionaires

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has become one of the youngest billionaires – yes, that’s billionaire with a ‘b’ – in the world after Facebook closed at a record US$58.51 on the NASDAQ exchange.

The 44-year-old is now not only one of the youngest billionaires on the planet, but one of the youngest female billionaires in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Sandberg’s wealth shot through the US$1bn mark last week, when Facebook hit the record closure in New York.

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