The tech business week: European Parliament’s Google vote, Sony switches focus


1 Dec 2014

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news the European Parliament has voted in favour of splitting Google’s search operation from its commercial business.

European Parliament votes to split Google

A vote taken on Thursday at the European Parliament has returned in favour of splitting Google’s search operation from its commercial business.

The motion put forward to the European Parliament proposed creating a more level playing field for internet search – an area in which Google unmistakably dominates with 90pc of the market in Europe.

One remedy suggested for the long-running anti-trust saga is to split Google’s search business from its commercial services. Votes were cast in Strasbourg, France, and the resolution passed with 384 MEPs in favour and 174 against.

While the opinion of the MEPs is clear, the vote is largely ceremonial as the European Parliament has no authority to exact the break-up of the US tech company.

Google quietly closes its 4 physical Google Glass stores

Google quietly announced recently that it has closed its four bricks-and-mortar Google Glass stores after the internet search giant found a considerable decline in interest in the physical stores.

The four stores, known as Basecamps, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and London, were closed without notice and was only reported following a Google+ post by Spencer Kleyweg, a 15-year-old Google Glass fanatic and one of the youngest signed up to the Google Glass Explorer beta project.

The stores were initially opened to assist those with the smartglasses on how to use them and on other activities that could be performed by Google Glass.

Sony to cull smartphones and TVs – aims to profit from PlayStations and cameras

Japanese technology giant Sony plans to reduce its focus on mobile devices and TVs as losses mount. Instead it aims to profit from high-end devices and its burgeoning PlayStation 4 and image sensor businesses.

For Sony, smartphones aren’t cutting it and its Xperia brand of devices has impacted earnings.

The company announced last week that mobile phones are dragging down Sony’s financial performance and the company is taking a different approach to smartphones that will see it make fewer models, focus on high-end devices such as the Xperia Z3, and sell parts to other device makers.

Under a new three-year business plan, Sony is planning to boost revenues at its PlayStation business by 25pc to US$13.6bn.

Within its devices business, the company’s image sensor business could also grow revenues to around US$13bn.

Apple’s market cap has just hit US$700bn for the first time

Consumer tech titan Apple has hit a record market capitalisation of US$700bn, cementing its position as the world’s most valuable company.

The valuation is a crowning achievement for Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took the helm of the company just before co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs died 2011.

The value of Apple has effectively doubled under Cook’s leadership in those three years.

Apple is understood to be the first S&P 500 company to ever reach a market cap of US$700bn.

Seizure of quad play opportunity fuels Eircom Q1 momentum

Eircom late last week reported first-quarter revenues of €313m, down 3pc year-on-year but up 1pc on the last quarter. The quad-play company saw growth across all segments, including broadband, mobile, fibre and TV.

Eircom reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of €114m, down 6pc it says is due to investment in subscriber growth.

This was balanced by a 6pc reduction in operating costs and an 18pc reduction in payroll costs.

Fenergo and Intel among the winners as CarTrawler bags Irish software company of the year

CarTrawler has been named software company of the year at the recent annual Irish software awards, hosted by the Irish Software Association (ISA).

Fenergo was acknowledged for outstanding achievement in international growth, while Intel won an award for multinational corporation initiative of the year.

Full winners of the awards are: ISA company of the year – CarTrawler; ISA person of the year – Shay Garvey, founding partner of Frontline Ventures; emerging company of the year – Brite:Bill; outstanding achievement in international growth – Fenergo; digital technology services project of the year – S3 Group; technology innovation of the year – Asavie Technologies; excellence in talent development – Realex Payments; multinational corporation initiative of the year – Intel Ireland; outstanding academic achievement of the year – TSSG/FeedHenry.

Intel and Fenergo are Silicon Republic Featured Employers, comprised of top tech companies that are hiring now

Google image by antb/Shutterstock

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