NEWS IN BRIEF
Daily Digest 2 March
by Cian Ginty
IDA unveils job creation strategy | Apple sues HTC for patent infringement
IDA Ireland has unveiled a new strategy called Horizon 2020, which aims to create 105,000 new jobs by 2014. The agency says it hopes to attract 640 new foreign direct investments to Ireland in the next four years; 50 percent of which it wants to be located outside Dublin and Cork. Another aim listed in the strategy is to boost spending on research, development and innovation to EUR1.7 billion per year by 2014. IDA Ireland aims to reach these goals by encouraging collaboration on an "unprecedented level" between the Government, the IDA, other development agencies, higher education institutes, multinationals already established here and indigenous entrepreneurs - or 'Team Ireland' as the IDA has termed it. Improving our broadband infrastructure and quickly deploying Next Generation Networks so that we can exploit cloud computing technology has also been identified as key to the success of Horizon 2020.
BT has launched the Business of Science and Technology mentoring programme. The initiative is aimed at giving students the business skills and knowledge to help them turn good ideas into potential commercial opportunities. Fifty-three students from 13 counties who took part in this year's BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition were invited to take part in the programme, which will see the students being mentored by executives from BT, Bank of Ireland, Bombardier Aerospace, Bord Gais, Engineers Ireland, IBM, Intel, IP Innovations, and Innovation Delivery. "Through this Business of Science & Technology Programme, BT is collaborating with key private and public sector organisations to help bridge the gap between the worlds of education and business and mentor the next generation of young innovators and entrepreneurs," said Chris Clark, CEO of BT.
iPhones will be available to Vodafone customers in Ireland from 25 March, the mobile operator said. Vodafone will be releasing both the 3G and 3GS models of the phone, ending O2’s Irish exclusive on the handset to-date. On bill-pay, pricing for a 3GS 16GB iPhone will range from free to EUR199. Bill-pay monthly charges are from EUR35 to EUR100. All plans have unlimited calls and text to Vodafone numbers and an allowance of 2GB of data per month. Meanwhile, on pre-pay, a 3GS 16GB model will retail for EUR519, and the 3G 8GB model for EUR419. More information on the other pricing plans is available here.
Mobile phone companies are to be forced by the EU to limit how much is charged for internet usage while roaming within the region. The European Commission has also said if customers do not set a daily maximum before July a default of EUR50 will be set for them. Operators will also have to send customers a warning when they use up 80 percent of the set limit. Internet access for the users will then be cut off once the limit is reached. The move has been introduced in order to help consumers avoid "bill shock".
Facebook and Twitter are being targeted in iPad testers scams, security company Sophos warned. On his blog, Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with Sophos, warns that the scammers work in the same way as legitimate Facebook pages and applications, with invites to friends spreading scams. "Not all of them pretend to offer an iPad, so be on your guard for other scams too. The most important thing to remember is to not invite your friends to any Facebook page or application until you have thoroughly researched what it's about. Furthermore, you should never be tempted to hand over your mobile phone number to some daft internet quiz," said Culey. On Twitter he said beware of links offering free iPads.
Nearly four fifths of Irish people polled still prefer newspapers to e-readers, according to research by iReach Market Research. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed said they would not change to e-readers or similar electronic devices for reading newspapers. Of these, 58 percent said they preferred the printed format, 13 percent said they wanted to share their newspaper with family and friends, and 7 percent said their newspaper reading was a break from technology. Ninety-two percent of all surveyed said they were aware of the iPad launch. While only 5 percent of consumers said they are considering buying an iPad, among iPhone users this figure increases to 28 percent. The survey, collected during February 2010, was from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Irish adults aged between 18 and 65 plus (although this was from iReach's Online Consumer Panel, not a random sample).
Irish mobile content company Zamano reported a revenue drop from EUR41.4 million in 2008 to EUR25.1 million in 2009. Although earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased from EUR5 million to EUR4.3 million, the company said this was in line with market expectations. Profit after tax improved to EUR1.1 million, compared to losses of EUR3.9 million in 2008. Adjusted diluted earning per share were down EUR0.002 cent to EUR0.044. Zamano also said it has completed a EUR2.5 million fundraising round to allow it to invest in growth and strengthen its balance sheet.
Apple is suing phone maker HTC over US patent infringement. Apple claims HTC, which makes the Nexus One with Google, has infringed 20 patents related to the iPhone user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours," said Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, in a statement. Apple is also currently involved in a patent spat with mobile giant Nokia.