A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week.
PC sales fall off a cliff – steepest quarterly decline on record reported
The full extent of the decline of the PC industry has been made clear in the latest quarterly analysis from IDC, which revealed a near 14pc drop in the number of PCs sold in the first quarter of this year compared with last year.
During the first quarter, some 76.3m PCs were shipped, down 13.9pc on this time last year.
The decline in PC sales is being driven by the rise in demand for smartphones and tablet computers.
Weak reception for Windows 8 along with component supply problems for ultraslim systems have compounded the issue.
According to IDC, the PC industry is simply failing to inspire consumers to choose PCs over competing devices and there is a perception now that PCs are cumbersome and expensive compared with their lighter, easier to use and more affordable tablet cousins.
ESB International wins €30m contract in Turkey, reaches milestone in Tanzania energy project
Global engineering consultancy ESB International (ESBI) has won its first contract in Turkey and has finished a major portion of the energy project it’s managing in Tanzania, with the official switching on of a new 132kV submarine interconnector from Tanzania to Zanzibar Island.
Details of the contract in Turkey were announced in Istanbul during an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to the country last week.
ESBI is undertaking the €30m, six-year contract with investment company UNIT to operate and maintain the Yeni Elektrik Power Station, located south-west of Istanbul. ESBI will also provide technical and engineering support to the plant.
ESBI and UNIT have formed a 50/50 joint venture company known as UNES to manage the contract for the plant, which will generate electricity as a merchant plant into the Turkish market.
The new 132kV interconnector from Tanzania to Zanzibar Island, meanwhile, will more than double the transmission capacity currently available, said John McSweeney, head of Innovation at ESB International.
Kells Stainless Limited inks agreement with Turkish engineering firm UMDE
Meath-based Kells Stainless Limited and Turkish engineering company UMDE have signed a strategic alliance agreement covering the development of a biomass system to convert biodegradable waste into high-grade fertiliser and nutrients for power generation.
The signing of the agreement took place during an Enterprise Ireland trade mission of 25 companies to Turkey last week.
A pilot plant that will bring together technology developed by UMDE and Kells Stainless is now at the advanced planning stage. The plant will showcase the system and commercial benefits to the dairy, agricultural, and biodegradable waste sectors, initially in Turkey and Ireland.
All going well, the companies plan to increase employment as the project develops and gains momentum.
Comsys forms pan-European partnership with Axxana
Dublin-based IT infrastructure support company Comsys has become a pan-European business partner of data protection firm Axxana in a deal valued at €1m over the next two years.
Under the deal, Comsys will integrate Axxana’s enterprise data protection technology, the Axxana Phoenix System, into its solutions portfolio across the Irish, UK and North African markets.
The Axxana Phoenix System, developed in conjunction with EMC, is capable of delivering zero data loss over any distance using IP lines.
LinkedIn buys news reader platform Pulse for US$90m
LinkedIn has confirmed its acquisition of Alphonso Labs, the company behind the mobile news reader app Pulse, for US$90m. The Pulse app, which now boasts more than 30m users globally, has been snapped up by the professional social network as it seeks to become more of a professional publishing platform.
In a blog post, LinkedIn’s senior vice-president of products and user experience Deep Nishar said that the Pulse team would bring a "unique" combination of product, technology, and design expertise to LinkedIn.
He spoke about LinkedIn’s aim to become a "definitive professional publishing platform" and said that Pulse would complement this vision.
In a blog post of its own, Pulse added that it would be creating a new LinkedIn Influencer feed on Pulse that will feature posts from the likes of Richard Branson and former General Electric chairman and CEO Jack Welch.
The deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
Apple and Yahoo! in talks about mobile collaboration – report
Yahoo!’s CEO Marissa Mayer is reportedly in talks with Apple’s senior vice-president of internet services Eddy Cue about getting more of Yahoo!’s content and services onto iOS devices.
Internet giant Yahoo! already supplies the data for consumer tech behemoth Apple’s stock and weather apps, but the two companies are said to be discussing other arrangements, such as partnerships or deals to have more content from Yahoo! News and its other web properties loaded onto Apple devices, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Integrating Yahoo! services into mobile devices has been a core part of Mayer’s strategy to turn the company around, considering the fact Yahoo! doesn’t make mobile devices, own a mobile-device operating system, or social network.
Representatives for both Yahoo! and Apple have declined to comment.
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