A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week.
Govt to open microfinance scheme for small businesses on 1 October
The Irish Government is set to open the microfinance scheme today for businesses and sole traders that employ 10 people or less that have been refused credit by the banks. Via the fund, businesses will be able to apply for loans of up to €25,000.
The Government is anticipating the scheme will provide more than €90m in extra lending to 5,500 businesses and create an additional 7,700 jobs over 10 years.
Start-ups, sole traders and existing microenterprises will be eligible to apply for a loan under the scheme.
For businesses to be eligible for the scheme, a request for credit must first have been declined by the banks.
Those interested in applying for the scheme can get application forms from the county and city enterprise boards.
PopCap Games shuts Dublin office
Casual games company PopCap Games has closed its Dublin offices after a consultation period, affecting the jobs of 96 people.
In August, the company said it was in ‘exploratory consultation’ about the future of its Dublin offices after 50 jobs had been cut, mostly at its Seattle headquarters.
PopCap Games has said it has provided outplacement support for the 96 now-former employees, adding that many have received job offers in other parts of PopCap, at parent company Electronic Arts, or with technology partners in Ireland.
Facebook developer Betapond buys UK firm iPlatform
Betapond, a software development company focused on the Facebook platform that started up in Waterford and which now has offices in Dublin, London and San Jose, California, has acquired iPlatform, the UK’s first Facebook-preferred developer for an undisclosed sum.
The combined cash and stock transaction is the first acquisition by Betapond.
The combined company will offer global brands and their agencies greater scale and depth of resources for developing innovative Facebook integrations.
IBM acquires data analysis and migration software firm Butterfly Software Ltd
Technology giant IBM has acquired data analysis and migration software company Butterfly Software Ltd for an undisclosed sum.
Under the deal, Butterfly Software Ltd will become part of IBM’s Software Group. IBM will use the firm to help clients find new ways to drive greater value from its storage software and hardware solutions, IBM said in a statement.
Butterfly Software Ltd, which is headquartered in Maidenhead, England, offers storage planning software and storage migration tools, helping companies save IT costs, storage space, operational time, and power consumption.
Accenture strikes three-year deal with Swedish National Police Board
Global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture will provide the Swedish National Police Board with IT development and maintenance services over the next three years.
The Swedish National Police Board has chosen Accenture as its strategic IT partner in a three-year framework agreement to help enhance police operations and investigations, deliver greater information sharing across the force, and enable better management of, and access to, critical police investigative and operational information.
The contract includes a possible extension to a maximum of another three years.
Accenture secured the contract after a competitive tendering process.
IBM CEO Virginia Rometty named as new chairman
IBM’s president and CEO Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty is set to take over as chairman of the technology giant when current chairman Samuel Palmisano steps down from the board on 1 October.
In January, Rometty took over the CEO and president role from Palmisano, becoming the company’s ninth CEO and its first female leader.
As for Palmisano, he will become senior adviser to IBM until he retires on 1 December 2012.
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