The technology business week: Ericsson cuts jobs, UPC Ireland subscribers near 1m


12 Nov 2012

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Following cuts in Sweden, Ericsson announces 100 jobs to go in Athlone

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week.

Following cuts in Sweden, Ericsson announces 100 jobs to go in Athlone

Ericsson has announced 100 job losses for employees involved in its legacy products at its software campus in Blyry Industrial Estate, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

According to a report from RTÉ News, Ericsson has stated that research and development at the plant will continue.

This follows an announcement on 7 November regarding Ericsson’s plans to scale back its operations in Sweden, where the company is headquartered.

In its efforts to reduce costs, 1,550 jobs were cut in numerous sites across Sweden and in all parts of the organisation, with all employees affected to be informed by March 2013.

UPC Ireland total subscriber levels approaching 1m, also nearing 300k broadband users

Some 300,000 out of UPC Ireland’s total 969,200 subscribers are now signed up for broadband, the company revealed. The company said its seven-year €500m investment in fibre is paying technological dividends with services of up to 150Mbps available to consumers.

During the third quarter, UPC proved its cable broadband infrastructure was capable of reaching speeds as high as 1.4Gbps over a standard home cable.

Overall subscriber levels grew by 110,000 or 13pc to 969,200 year-on-year.

Broadband subscriber levels of 294,300 customers are up 22pc.

The company’s phone business grew 55pc year-on-year to 223,400 paying customers.

Some 384,000 premises are signed up to the company’s digital TV service.

During the quarter, entry-level speeds for the company’s fibre broadband services increased to 50Mbps, mid-tier moved to 100Mbps and top tier now stands at 150Mbps.

Smart device sales to bypass 1bn in 2013 – Gartner

Some 821m smart devices will be bought worldwide this year, accounting for 70pc of total devices sold in 2012, and the number of smart devices sold in 2013 will exceed the 1bn mark, Gartner Inc reports.

Smart devices include smartphones and tablet computers, and the surge in sales can be attributed to the consumerisation of IT, according to Gartner.

Tablets will be the key accelerator to mobility, said Gartner, which estimated that in 2012 purchases of tablets by businesses will reach 13m units and will more than triple by 2016, to reach 53m units. 

The number of smartphones sold running on the Android operating system is expected to rise, as well. Gartner estimated that 56pc of smartphones purchased by businesses in Europe and North America will be Android devices in 2016, up from 34pc in 2012 and virtually no penetration in 2010. 

European PC market in freefall – double-digit decline across sector in Q3

In what must be a bloodbath for tech retailers, PC shipments in Western Europe fell 15.4pc in the third quarter to 13.6m units shipped. Many vendors tried to clear old inventory ahead of the launch of Windows 8 and were overly cautious about stocking new inventory.

“We’ve witnessed a decline across all PC segments this quarter in Western Europe," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.

In the third quarter of 2012, mobile PC shipments declined 15.2pc while desktop PC shipments decreased 15.7pc. The professional and consumer PC markets declined 15.8pc and 15pc, respectively. 

PC shipments in June and July were very low, as many vendors were trying to clear inventory from the second quarter of 2012. Channel and retail partners also remained cautious about stocking too much inventory ahead of the Windows 8 launch. 

HP continued to lose market share but retained the No 1 position in the overall and professional PC segments.

Groupon posts US$3m Q3 loss despite 32pc revenue growth

While daily deals site Groupon’s revenues increased 32pc to US$568.6m, the progress has been marred by a US$3m loss due to an acquisition-related charge of US$25.1m.

The e-commerce company reported operating income of US$25.4m in the quarter compared with an operating loss of US$200,000 a year ago.

Operating cash flow decreased 35pc year-over-year to US$421.m, compared with US$64.4m last year.

“Our solid performance in North America was offset by continued challenges in Europe,” said Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon.

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