Tech business week: Alphabet starts and Mayo increases fibre

17 Aug 2015

In tech business news this week, Google rearranges itself into Alphabet and a major transatlantic fibre optic cable lands in Mayo.

Google reorganises into Alphabet

Google is no longer the Google we know, it has reorganised itself into a new entity known as Alphabet. The Google search division will be one of many subsidiaries and will be headed by former Android chief Sundar Pichai.

Alphabet Inc will be a conglomerate under which Google will be a subsidiary alongside Calico, Google Ventures, Google Capital, Google X, Fiber and Nest.

The CEO of Alphabet, Larry Page, announced the reorganisation on 10 August and it was confirmed in an SEC filing. Sergey Brin will be president of Alphabet.

Alphabet Inc will replace Google as the publicly-traded entity. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet and all shares of Google will convert into corresponding shares of Alphabet with the same rights, and will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.

Mayo’s major transatlantic cable touches down

Killala in Co Mayo welcomed Ireland’s first direct transatlantic fibre optic cable earlier on Friday (14 August), bringing with it the potential to create “thousands of jobs” on the back of increased data centre and cloud capabilities.

Earlier this week, Cork tapped into a cable linking the US with the UK, which in itself was a major deal, bringing additional support to a part of the country home to the likes of Apple, IBM and EMC – major data centres.

Mayo has gone one step further, though, with the Connacht county now Europe’s entry point to a vastly superior service when construction is completed by next year.

The 5,475km subsea cable is owned and operated by Irish company Aqua Comms and cost US$300m.

Sean Rad returns as Tinder CEO

Just five months after his ousting, Tinder’s co-founder Sean Rad has returned as the company’s CEO after it was decided his replacement, Chris Payne, had failed to ‘ignite’ the business.

Sean Rad has, since March, remained the face of the app, despite news of him stepping down as CEO being revealed last November.

His removal from the position originally came after Tinder’s parent company, The Match Group, called for Rad’s demotion within the company, but now it appears he has done enough to earn his place at the top once again.

According to Re/Code, one of the members of the company’s board, Matt Cohler, said that Payne’s role as CEO had done little to benefit the company and it was time for him to move on.

Alibaba business booming, but not as much as expected

Alibaba’s latest results show the online giant’s Chinese business continuing to rise, with more than half of its sales now coming through mobile. But an increase in revenues of ‘only’ 28pc is actually a worry.

There are 367m people buying on average 58 products a year on the e-commerce site, with the Alibaba financials showing the volume of goods changing hands on the platform rocketing up 34pc to US$109bn.

The rise in mobile use has been stark, actually, representing just 12pc for the same period in 2013, rising to a third last year.

In fact, all numbers seem to be heading upwards, with almost a third more people actively buying on the platform. However, it’s not enough to satisfy everyone, with US$3.26bn in revenues shy of analyst estimates of US$3.39bn.

HTC deemed valueless as brand’s value falls below cash on hand

HTC, maker of the flagship One M8 and One M9 smartphones, has been deemed by analysts to be a brand with no value, as a 60pc plunge in its stock pushed the company’s market value below its cash on hand.

What this means is Taiwanese phone maker HTC’s brand, factories and buildings have no value in the eyes of Wall Street.

HTC’s market price fell to NT$47bn (US$1.5bn), below the NT$47.2bn cash it had at the end of June.

Ad blocking continues to rise

Ad blocking will cost websites around the world well over US$21bn this year, with Irish business losing €100m, according to a new report.

Almost 18pc of Irish consumers now actively block ads while browsing the internet, part of a growing global trend that is seeing the public steering clear of intrusive campaigns.

It seems the growth in pop-up, interstitial and video ads is actually having a negative effect in online business as more and more people install software to hide them.

The numbers rising fast, with this year’s figures showing populations in Greece (37.pc) and Poland (35pc) in particular avoiding what ads they can.

Alphabet image via Shutterstock

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