A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.
AIB Merchant Services launches first contactless payments terminal
AIB Merchant Services has launched its first contactless payment terminal using near field communication (NFC) technology at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin City.
AIB Merchant Services (AIBMS) itself is a merchant acquiring joint venture between First Data Corporation and Allied Irish Banks (AIB).
AIB said the theatre is Ireland’s first live entertainment venue for contactless payments.
So what will this mean for consumers down the line? People who have contactless-enabled cards in the future will be able to pay for everyday items up to the value of €15 by tapping their card against a contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminal, said the bank.
Facebook may IPO on 17 May
Social networking giant Facebook is expected to IPO on 17 May with an expected value of US$104bn, making it the largest stock market flotation by an internet company to date.
The 17 May date is dependent on whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agrees all of the paperwork is in order, including that pertaining to Facebook’s recent US$1bn acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram, TechCrunch reported in citing unnamed sources.
At the end of March, Facebook’s halted trading of shares on secondary markets in a necessary calming manoeuvre intended to pave the way for the necessary investor road show ahead of May’s IPO.
High Court judge confirms Eircom examiner appointment
High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly has confirmed Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton chartered accountants as examiner to Eircom’s companies Eircom Ltd, Meteor Mobile Communications and Irish Telecommunications Investments Ltd.
The three companies applied for examinership in the High Court on 29 March and the following day Kelly appointed McAteer as interim examiner.
Examinership protects Eircom from its creditors as it works to put in place a viable plan to save the company’s future.
Eircom employs 5,000 people and is €3.7bn in debt.
IBM revenues flat at US24.7bn, earnings up 7pc
IBM saw its revenues remain flat at US$24.7bn for the first quarter of 2012. Its net income rose to US$3.1bn, up 7pc compared to the same quarter the previous year.
Its diluted earnings per share were US$2.61, up 13pc since the same quarter during the previous year.
Its first-quarter revenues in the Americas were the highest at US$10.5bn, up 1pc from 2011. Revenues from its EMEA region were US$7.6bn, down 2pc from the same period in 2011. Its revenues from growth markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China increased 10pc.
Its global technology services segment revenues were up 2pc to US$10bn, but its global business services segment revenues were down 2pc to US$4.6bn. Software revenues were up 5pc to US$5.6bn though its hardware sales were down 7pc to US$3.7bn.
Microsoft sees revenue rise by 6pc to US$17.41bn
Microsoft saw its revenue increase by 6pc since last year in the quarter ending 31 March, reaching US$17.41bn. Its operating income was up 12pc from the same period last year.
Its net income reached US$5.11bn, down from US$5.23bn in the same period last year. Its diluted earnings per share were US0.60 per share, down from US$0.61 per share in the same quarter last year. However, Microsoft noted that during the prior period last year, net income and earnings per share included a US$461m and US$0.05 share tax benefit due to a tax settlement with the US Internal Revenue Service.
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