Tech business week: Virgin Media arrives and Twitter moves

5 Oct 2015

The Virgin Media launch in Dublin. Image via Luke Maxwell

This week in tech business news, Richard Branson comes to Ireland to launch Virgin Media, and Jack Dorsey looks set to head Twitter again.

Virgin Media to launch its mobile service in Ireland

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson came to Dublin last week to launch the Virgin Media brand in Ireland.

He also revealed that Virgin Mobile would go live in Ireland from 5 October.

Interestingly, Virgin Media will be the first mobile operator to launch in Ireland without a series of handsets.

Instead, the company will focus on enabling users to import their existing numbers to its network. New numbers will be facilitated with the 089 prefix.

The new operator will offer two key products: an unlimited data bundle with unlimited calls and texts for €25; and a limited data bundle with 1GB data, 250 minutes of voice and 250 texts for €15 a month.

Jack Dorsey to be named Twitter CEO (again)

Twitter co-founder, former CEO and current interim CEO Jack Dorsey seems primed to be named the company’s new CEO, according to reports in the US.

Dorsey took over as interim CEO a few months ago after Dick Costolo stepped down, with the search for a future leader seemingly heading down a well-worn path.

Re/Code reports that Dorsey is primed for the role a full seven years after he was previously dismissed, with the company now reportedly saying it would be happy for him to take on the role while running his company Square in tandem.

Twitter to move offices in Dublin

Twitter is moving its Dublin offices around the corner from its current base on Pearse Street to a new 85,000 sq ft premises that it is sub-letting from Hibernia REIT plc. It will pay close to €5m a year for the new office space.

Hibernia acquired Cumberland House, an office building with around 112,000 sq ft of lettable area and 213 car-parking spaces on a 1.6 acre site, for €49m in March 2015, having initially provided a short-term loan secured on the property.

As part of the agreement with Twitter, Hibernia will refurbish the entire building at a cost of up to €27m ahead of expected lease commencement in the second half of 2016.

Apple’s enterprise revenues surge to US$25bn

Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed that revenues from enterprise sales of Apple products now account for 14pc of the company’s US$200bn revenues.

At a user conference for cloud company Box, Cook told Box CEO Aaron Levie that Apple has reaped US$25bn in enterprise sales.

“If you look at the last 12 months, [enterprise sales for Apple were] US$25bn,” Cook told Levie in an onstage interview.

“This is not a hobby. This is real business.”

Axel Springer buys Business Insider

German publishing giant Axel Springer has acquired Henry Blodget’s web-only business publication Business Insider for a whopping €348m.

Blodget founded Business Insider in 2007 and the company has grown to employ 325 people.

Business Insider, which has 76m unique monthly visitors, will help increase Axel Springer’s worldwide digital audience to 200m, making Axel Springer one of the world’s six largest publishers in terms of reach.

ECJ to rule on Schrems case on 6 October

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will give its judgment on the Schrems case on 6 October, less than two weeks after its advocate general’s opinion was published.

On 23 September, Yves Bot gave his views on the case brought by Max Schrems against the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, with his opinion on Safe Harbour dominating headlines.

Bot called Safe Harbour ‘invalid’ in a case revolving around Schrems’ personal Facebook information passing through Europe, on to the company’s Irish offices and through to the US.

With Edward Snowden’s lengthy and damaging revelations about just how indiscriminate digital surveillance can get in the US, Schrems had argued that Safe Harbour should be irrelevant.

Bot, it seems, agrees. However, his statement was just an opinion, with the ECJ’s official finding to be revealed next week.