The technology business week: Smartphones not selling fast enough, Irish firms forge contracts worth €17m on trade mission


20 May 2013

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

Smartphone sales not accelerating fast enough to stem decline of feature phones

The rise of smartphones is not happening fast enough to stem the decline of feature phones in key markets, with users not upgrading or replacing old devices at a pace mobile device manufacturers would like to see. That’s according to first-quarter figures from Gartner, a technology research and advisory firm.

Global mobile phone sales totalled 426m in the first quarter of 2013, up slightly by 0.7pc on the previous year.

Worldwide smartphone sales were up 42.9pc to 210m units in the first quarter.

But Gartner has warned that a slowdown of users upgrading to newer devices could strain the total mobile market in 2013. The Asia-Pacific region was the only one to demonstrate growth in the first quarter, with sales rising 6.4pc.

In the first quarter of 2013, sales of mobile phones in the EMEA region declined 3.6pc. The mobile phone market in North America and Latin America shrunk 9.5pc and 3.8pc, respectively, while Japan saw its mobile phone sales drop by 7.3pc.

Irish firms forge contracts worth €17m on EI trade mission

Irish companies involved in last week’s Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Poland and the Czech Republic have secured new contracts with a potential value of €17m.

The Minister for Small Business, John Perry, TD, led the four-day trade mission involving 40 Irish companies. It was focused mainly on the engineering, electronics and software sectors.

Perry said the trade mission was very important in terms of deepening Ireland’s trade and economic ties in central and eastern Europe.

While in Prague, Perry witnessed the signing of several business contracts. Over the next three to five years, the Irish companies that forged new deals with Czech partners are expected to bring in additional revenues of more than €13m.

Digiweb merger with Viatel creates pan-European fibre player

Telecoms companies Digiweb and Viatel have merged to create a telecoms operator that will connect 34 western European cities over an 8,500km fibre network.

The merged entity will have a combined workforce of 200 people and annual revenues of US$78m. The combined group generates operating profits exceeding US$10m annually.

Investors in Viatel, including Morgan Stanley, are rolling their investment in Viatel into Digiweb Group. They are also investing additional equity to fund the introduction of new services.

Viatel, which is based in London, has invested US$1.5bn in the construction of the low-latency fibre network.

Twitter buys data analysis start-up Lucky Sort

Twitter has snapped up Lucky Sort, a data analysis company that may help the microblogging site monetise tweets. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Noah Pepper, CEO of Lucky Sort, said some of Lucky Sort’s staff members will be moving to San Francisco, California, to join Twitter’s revenue engineering department. Lucky Sort is based in Portland, Oregon.

At the very least, it appears as if Lucky Sort will be shut down as a standalone product. Pepper also said the company will be helping current customers transition off its system in the coming months.

Deals site gets a deal – Foffit.com acquires Dealsireland.ie

Daily deals website Dealsireland.ie has been acquired by a Cork-based deals site, Foffit.com, for an undisclosed sum. Dealsireland.com says it will remain operational for the next couple of weeks and merchants will honour all acquired coupons.

Dealsireland.com was launched in 2011 and received investment from Dragons’ Den star and Harmonia publisher Norah Casey.

Foffit.com – which stands for ‘50pc off it’ – was also founded in 2011 and is a group buying site that offers discounts on products and services of up to 90pc.

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