The tech business week: Google is Ireland’s most trusted firm and Uber bids for HERE

11 May 2015

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, with Google named Ireland’s must reputable firm and Uber bidding for Nokia’s HERE mapping service.

Google named the most reputable firm in Ireland

Google has emerged as the most reputable organisation in Ireland, according to the annual Ireland RepTrak 2015 study. Unsurprisingly, the banks and Irish Water failed to make a dent in the survey.

The other four organisations ranked in the top five were: Boots (2nd); Kellogg’s (3rd); Bord Bia (4th), which was ranked for the first time this year; and last year’s winner Volkswagen, ranked fifth.

Indigenous Irish organisations were also well represented in the top rankings, with five listed in coveted top 10 positions. Bord Bia was the best-placed Irish organisation, with Irish League of Credit Unions (6th), Irish Rugby Football Union (7th), Smyth’s Toys (9th) and An Post (10th) all making the top 10.

Uber submits a bid to buy Nokia’s HERE mapping service for US$3bn

Taxi-hailing app player Uber has submitted a bid for Nokia’s HERE mapping service in a move that could see it reduce its dependence on Google.

Uber, which is currently valued at more than US$41bn, is increasingly morphing into being a competitor of Google, which ironically owns a share in the company.

Uber is currently looking at making self-driving cars, while at the same time Google is looking at developing a driverless taxi service.

Uber has submitted a bid for Here for as much as US$3bn, according to The New York Times.

Google confirms mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches for the first time

Google has officially confirmed that mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches. The internet giant has responded to this with a new slew of small-screen ad formats.

Google said that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.

Google groups tablets with desktops so it indicates just how many search queries are being conducted on smartphones today.

North Korea launches first e-commerce site, despite having no internet

Despite none of its citizens having access to the world wide web, North Korea has launched its first e-commerce store on its own highly-monitored national intranet.

Known as Okryu, the service is aimed at North Korea’s surprisingly large number of smartphone owners, who still lack the ability to connect to the wider internet, but will now be able to buy a range of products online, including cosmetics, clothing and food.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the site (and the North Korean government) are not exactly open to the idea of an open e-commerce platform, with payment only accepted in North Korean won from the government’s own banking system.

Tesla Q1 report shows losses once again, but less than expected

Despite much hype and interest in the company, Tesla’s Q1 2015 financial results showed once again the company is making a loss, but not as large a one as market analysts had predicted.

According to its financial filing, the electric vehicle (EV) and now home battery makers made total revenues of US$1.1bn in the first part of this year, with a loss of individual share value of US$0.36, despite analysts predicting it to be somewhere closer to revenues of US$1.05bn and a loss of US$0.49 on each share.

In terms of production targets, all appeared to be on track for the company, which announced that its Model S EV managed to just make it over the line in terms of numbers, shipping 10,045 cars compared with its original estimate of 10,030 out of a total number produced of 11,160.

Alibaba announces new CEO amid 49pc profit dip for Q1

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will have a new person at the helm as the company’s COO, Daniel Zhang, is set to be announced as its new CEO amid a profit slash of almost 50pc.

Zhang will replace current CEO Jonathan Lu, after his stint of almost two years in charge of the company; he will remain on its executive board.

According to The New York Times, the decision comes after the company reported rather worrying financial figures for its Q1 report, with a net profit of US$463m, which is down 49pc from the same time last year and is also lower than market analysts had predicted.

However, the company did manage to make revenues of US$2.8bn for the same period.


Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.