The technology business week: GameAccount Network teams up with MPTN, Google buys Wavii


29 Apr 2013

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Smurfit and Desmond-backed firm allies with US casino

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

Smurfit and Desmond-backed firm allies with US casino

A tech company backed by the Smurfit family and Dermot Desmond, financier, is poised to profit when the US eventually passes new internet gambling regulations.

GameAccount Network has forged an alliance with MPTN, the owners of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, to build an internet gaming portal and jointly sell software to other casino operators hoping to be ready for when the online gaming laws are passed.

GameAccount, headed by Dermot Smurfit Jr, a nephew of Michael Smurfit, businessman, has signed a major deal with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN), the owners and operators of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, to develop play-for-fun games on the internet.

MPTN will use GameAccount’s technology to ensure a fair and safe game for all players. The two companies will also develop turnkey business-to-business software solutions for other casino firms in the US.

Google acquires news reader start-up Wavii for about US$30m – report

Google has beaten Apple to the punch in acquiring news feed start-up Wavii for around US$30m.

Wavii uses natural language processing to automatically generate status updates on topics such as politics, celebrities and gadgets, the Seattle Times reported.

Under the deal, Wavii’s technology is expected to bolster Google’s Knowledge Graph by offering users improved results and direct answers to their queries.

Apple wanted Wavii in order to incorporate its natural language technology into the Siri voice-activated personal assistant feature, TechCrunch reported.

IBM buys UrbanCode to help businesses quickly deliver software

Technology giant IBM is expanding its DevOps strategy, designed to enhance the software development and delivery process for businesses, with the acquisition of UrbanCode Inc for an undisclosed sum.

UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses to quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, and cloud applications.

Under the deal, UrbanCode will be integrated into IBM’s SmartCloud and MobileFirst offerings.

Apple revenues reach US$43.6bn – posts US$9.5bn profit – iPhone growth slows

Technology giant Apple posted solid sales and revenue figures of US$43.6bn and US$9.5bn, respectively, but has raised questions about future growth plans as sales levels of iPhone devices appear flat and new product announcements may not be expected until later in the year.

Apple is in rude financial health, but signals that new products are unlikely to emerge until later in 2013 might just be raising hackles on Wall Street.

“Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple sold 37.4m iPhones in the quarter, compared to 35.1m this time last year, a marginal increase.

Significantly, Apple sold 19.5m iPads during the quarter, compared to 11.8m a year ago – good news if Android tablet sales are in danger of surpassing Apple on the tablet front.

However, Mac sales were flat and declining, with just fewer than 4m Macs, compared to 4m last year.

No mention was made of iPod media players, which had been steadily declining in sales in recent years.

Netflix reaches 36m global subscribers, US$1bn revenue

On-demand video-streaming service Netflix posted its earnings call for the first quarter of 2013 last week, citing more than 4bn hours of viewing by 36m subscribers worldwide and global revenue of US$1.024bn.

Of those subscribers, 7.14m are outside the US.

In total, Netflix added 3m members in Q1, with strong growth coming from its domestic US market. More than 2m members were newly signed up in this region, and Netflix credits this to the successful launch of its original series House of Cards, as well as improved streaming.

This gives Netflix a total of 29.17m US subscribers, surpassing rival HBO, with 28.7m subscribers for the first time.

Dublin’s Digital Hub appoints Edel Flynn as interim CEO

Edel Flynn will take on the role of interim CEO of the Digital Hub following the retirement of Philip Flynn after 11 years in the role.

Edel has served as chief operations officer of the Digital Hub for the past six years.

The Digital Hub cluster, which today comprises 80 companies employing 700 people, is due to come under the auspices of Dublin City Council this year. The city council has plans to develop Dublin as a hub for digital and green enterprises.

Since its founding in 2003, it has supported more than 2,000 jobs and 170 enterprises.

One of Flynn’s first responsibilities will be to oversee the transition of the Digital Hub Development Agency into Dublin City Council.

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Casino image via Shutterstock