The tech business week: Apple expands and Verizon buys AOL

18 May 2015

Apple is to expand its Cork operations

A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, including Apple’s plans to increase size of Cork operation and Verizon’s purchase of AOL.

Apple planning to double size of Cork operation in potential €700m investment

Tech giant Apple is understood to be in negotiations with the IDA and the Irish Government about doubling the size of its operations in Cork, where it currently employs more than 4,000 people.

It has been reported that the California technology company is planning to buy land adjacent to its operations in Holyhill, Cork, in a move that will transform its operations and could accommodate up to 2,000 more people.

According to The Sunday Timessuch an expansion would involve an investment of several hundred million euros.

Verizon buys AOL for US$4.4bn – telco makes a push into content

Internet content giant AOL is to be acquired by US telecoms company Verizon for US$4.4bn. Verizon will buy AOL for US$50 a share, a 17pc premium.

News of the acquisition sent AOL’s stock shooting up by 19pc in pre-market trading.

AOL, which owns prominent internet properties including TechCrunch, Engadget and The Huffington Post, has been razor-focused on a programmatic advertising strategy that has been bearing fruit for the company.

Apple is No 1 in China but smartphone market contracts for first time in six years

Smartphone sales in Q1 in China declined by 4pc year-on-year and 8pc on the previous quarter, marking the first time in six years that the country’s smartphone market has contracted.

That’s according to new statistics released by US-based market research firm IDC, which also found Apple to now be the top smartphone vendor in China with 14.7pc of total shipments, overtaking Xiaomi (13.7pc). Huawei (11.4pc) is in third with Samsung (9.7pc) and Lenovo (8.3pc), both of which led the market at least once last year, in fourth and fifth respectively.

Apple claiming the top spot is hardly surprising considering its mammoth last quarter in China, where sales grew by a huge 71pc to US$16.8bn.

Facebook Ireland chief Sonia Anne Flynn to leave to join SoundCloud in Berlin

The managing director of Facebook’s Irish operations Sonia Anne Flynn is to leave to join music platform SoundCloud in Berlin.

Flynn presided over the recent growth phase of Facebook in Dublin to 500 workers and a new HQ capable of accommodating 1,000 people.

Flynn will join SoundCloud as international vice president. She took over from colleague Colm Long in 2011 when he left to take up a senior position at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. Long has since left Facebook to take up the role of chief revenue officer at Flipboard.

Tableau Software to move to new offices that will accommodate 100 people in Dublin 

As part of its efforts to capture a share of the US$1bn a year business intelligence market in Europe, Tableau Software is aggressively investing in its operations in Dublin, its co-founder and CEO Christian Chabot has said.

Tableau, which established its operations in Dublin two years ago, now employs 33 people and has vacancies online for 16, and is opening a new Dublin office in June at The Oval on Shelbourne Road in Ballsbridge.

Tableau Software is making a large investment in Europe, with recent growth driven by international expansion in 2014. The company has seen revenue growth of more than 100pc for the past two years in EMEA, and has grown its customers by 60pc since 2013, reaching more than 5,000 customers in EMEA in 2014 and more than doubling its employee headcount.

Cisco reports 5pc rise in Q3 earnings

Cisco has reported a 5pc increase of its Q3 profits from last year as long-standing CEO John Chambers prepares to stand down.

The California-based company posted a $2.4bn net income, or 47 cents per share, during the fiscal period when applying normal accounting techniques (GAAP). This marked a rise from $2.18bn, or 42 cents per share, a year ago.

Cisco’s profit on a non-GAAP, or adjusted basis, came to US$2.8bn during the quarter. The firm paid 21 cents per share in dividends and repurchased about 35m shares for $1bn at an average price of US$28.39 per share.

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