A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news 32 Irish tech firms have joined a trade and investment mission to Australia.
Irish tech firms join minister on Australian trade mission
Thirty-two Irish companies in telecoms, e-learning, IT for healthcare and financial services are joining Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, on a trade and investment mission to Australia.
The mission, which has been jointly organised by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, will cover Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney over five days.
The trip, which began Friday, includes more than 40 high-level meetings and events to support increased exports by Irish companies to Australia, and to encourage Australian companies to invest in Ireland.
HubSpot aims to raise US$100m through IPO
Digital marketing software company HubSpot, which hopes to employ 150 people at its Dublin headquarters in the coming years, plans to raise US$100m through a much-anticipated IPO.
In a filing with the SEC, HubSpot indicated it plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HUBs.
Describing itself as an “emerging growth company,” HubSpot’s IPO will be underwritten by Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and UBS Investment Bank.
Eircom slows revenue decline – commits to bringing fibre to extra 200k premises
While its revenues fell 6pc to €1.2bn for the full year, Eircom says its revenue declines are slowing. The telecoms operator reported its eighth consecutive quarter of EBITDA (earnings before interest and taxes) stability.
The operator’s CEO Herb Hribar also revealed 200,000 additional homes will be included in its fibre rollout plan, growing its fibre network target from 1.4m homes and businesses to a new target of 1.6m premises by 2016.
EBIDTDA for the full financial year was down 1pc to €479m, before storm costs were taken into account.
Eircom’s retail customer base, comprising fixed and mobile, stood at 1.8m customers at 30 June 2014 and includes 1.05m mobile customers.
In terms of broadband, Eircom reported it had 718,000 broadband connections, up 7.5pc on last year.
Amazon, not Google, acquires Twitch for US$970m in cash
It turns out Amazon and not internet giant Google, as previously believed, has acquired video platform for gamers Twitch for US$970m in cash, making Amazon the new kingmaker in the video-games space.
In July, it had been widely reported that Google was buying Twitch for an estimated US$1bn and planned to integrate Twitch into its YouTube division. It is understood Google balked at the last minute due to anti-trust concerns – pretty understandable, considering YouTube is the biggest video content site on the internet, with Twitch coming up fast in the rear-view mirror.
“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Android dominates Europe with a 75.1pc share of smartphone market
Google’s Android operating system continues to dominate the European smartphone market with a 75.1pc share. Apple’s iOS is in second place, with a 14.5pc share of the market.
The latest global smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to July 2014, shows Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has continued its reign over the Chinese market, holding onto the top spot with ease for the fourth consecutive month.
It boasts a 31.6pc share of the urban Chinese market, followed by Samsung and Huawei.
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed to step down in January
Mikael Hed, the CEO of Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd, will be stepping down from his role in the new year.
He will be replaced by Pekka Rantala, Rovio’s chief commercial officer, on 1 January 2015, the company announced today.
Hed is not leaving the company entirely, however. His father, chairman of the board Kaj Hed, has nominated him for a role on the company’s board of directors and appointed him chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, where he will oversee animation and movies.
More recently, however, Rovio has shown a stall in growth, as newer games overtook Angry Birds. The company’s profits just about halved in 2013 to €26.9m, down from €55.5m in 2012.
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