A digest of the top business and technology news stories from the past week.
Ireland leads the world for availability of skilled labour
Ireland has topped the world in a number of key competitiveness milestones, according to top-ranked Switzerland-based business school IMD, including availability of skilled labour, flexibility of its workforce, investment incentives and attitudes to globalisation.
In terms of overall ranking, Hong Kong topped the world, followed by the US and Switzerland and Ireland came in at 20th place, up four places from last year.
But Ireland achieved the following key goals that rank it ideal for foreign direct investment (FDI) activity:
- First for availability of skilled labour
- First for flexibility and adaptability of workforce
- First for investment incentives
- First for attitudes towards globalisation
- Second for business legislation – openness to foreign investors
- Second for large corporations that are efficient by international standards
- Second for adaptability of companies
- Fourth for corporate tax rate on profit and real corporate taxes
IDA reveals a further 100 tech jobs for Ireland – six new projects
Four new companies will create 100 new jobs and two emerging companies will locate their headquarters in Ireland.
Red 5 Studios, an online games developer, is to establish its European Headquarters in Cork, with the creation of 30 jobs.
Aasonn, a global human capital management (HCM) and technology services company, is to establish its European headquarters in Dublin with the creation of 30 new jobs.
Van Tibolli Beauty Corp, provider of GK Hair products, is to establish its EU headquarters in Dublin, creating 25 jobs in customer support and multilingual marketing roles.
Qualvu Inc., a key emerging player in the provision of web-based qualitative research, is to establish its EMEA headquarters in Dublin with the creation of 15 new jobs.
Infobright, a Toronto-based analytics company, is to locate its EMEA headquarters along with a customer support centre, in Dublin.
Md7, an operations and financial services company, is to establish its European HQ in Dublin.
Enterprise Ireland reveals US online resource for tech firms
Enterprise Ireland has created a useful online directory to help Irish companies planning to enter markets in the US.
Put together by former Enterprise Ireland staffer and entrepreneur Niamh Bushnell, the aim of TechResources.US is to make it a living, breathing resource owned by its community of exporters and local market experts.
The site aims to connect Irish technology companies with trusted and up-to-date information and connections to essential in-market resources, services and supports, including accelerators, investors, networking groups, co-working spaces, conferences, online resources and academic research centres.
There are now more than 1,600 qualified resources in the TechResources directory and users can search by location, vertical market, resource type, and more, and can refine their search by keywords.
Cheaper EU data roaming charges come into force on 1 July
European ministers have agreed to the new EU roaming regulation that will reduce the cost of data roaming in Europe. The new rules will come into force on 1 July.
This new regulation will lower the prices for using mobile phones and tablets within the EU until 2014.
This new regulation is a big success for the citizen-led campaign ‘Europeans for Fair Roaming’ that has been calling for further lowering of roaming charges for the last two years.
The campaign managed to unite 20 associations, 14 members of the European Parliament and 150,000 people behind the goal of making roaming charges in Europe a thing of the past.
According to the new EU law, prices for roaming will be lowered to 29ct/min for calls and 70ct/MB for internet access in July 2012 and will keep going down to 19ct/min for calls and 20ct/MB for internet access by 2014.
In addition, users will be allowed to choose a different operator for roaming which should bring about more competition. Consumer protection will also be improved when leaving Europe as operators will have to send a warning when the bill for internet use approaches €50.
Google accuses Nokia and Microsoft of being patent trolls
Despite the soaring success of its Android operating system in the smartphone market, internet search giant Google is accusing Microsoft and Nokia of conspiring to use its patents against rivals in the market. In short, Google has called them patent trolls.
The internet company has taken a complaint to the European Commission about the transfer of some 2,000 patents to a third party called the MOSAID Group that is known for aggressively pursuing patent litigation. Microsoft and Nokia are joined at the hip in driving the success of the Windows Phone ecosystem.
It is understood that 1,200 of the patents are considered standard essential patents and could see Nokia and Microsoft run afoul of EU fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) principles.
So far, it is understood that Nokia has dismissed the allegations by Google as incorrect.
NFC’s star is rising – mobile payment volumes to hit US$171.5bn
The number of mobile payment users in the world will reach 212.12m, up from 160m last year, and mobile transaction values will reach US$171.5bn – up 62pc on last year.
"We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 42pc annual growth between 2011 and 2016, and we are forecasting a market worth US$617bn with 448m users by 2016," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.
"This will bring opportunities for service and solution providers who will need to cater to the local demand patterns to customise their offerings."
The mobile payments market will experience fragmented services and solutions for the next two years. Technology providers will have to cater their solutions to the local market that will be using different access technologies, business models and partners, and under different regulatory conditions.
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