NEWS IN BRIEF
For the record 4 July
Funda Ireland ceases operations | European Commission fines Telefonica over EUR151 million
Online property company Funda Ireland is packing up and moving out, after only six months in operation in the Irish market. The Funda.ie site opened in January this year, but decided to cease operations after a major review of business strategy in the last two months revealed that the market leading position that was required to make the business financially viable could not be achieved within the necessary timeframe. Instead, the parent company Funda NV is concentrating on its existing markets.
Environmentally conscious shoppers can now cut CO2 levels while they shop, with the launch of the Greener Offers website (www.greeneroffers.com). Each time a purchase is made, 50 percent of Greener Offers' commission is donated to Climate Care to spend on CO2 reduction programmes. A STG75 purchase will offset about one tonne of CO2. More than 60 well-known companies have already signed up to have their offers on the site, including British Gas Homecare, gardening site Crocus.co.uk, Sweaty Betty clothing and Budget Insurance.
RTE is planning its first live digital radio broadcast from the Oxegen music festival on new digital radio station, RTE 2XFM. The station will provide live coverage and behind the scenes action at the music festival this weekend, with performances and interviews with the artists. And the best bit about the event is that the broadcast will not be interrupted by ad breaks. The new 2XFM joins RTE's other station 2fm in broadcasting from the festival.
The Irish Software Association (ISA) has called for a change in the public tendering system to allow SMEs to compete more effectively for public contracts. The lobby group made the call in its submission to a consultation by the Government's National Public Policy Procurement Unit on SME participation in public procurement. ISA chairman Pat Brazel said the public procurement processes often militate against innovation, instead fostering a conservative approach that went in the favour of more established suppliers. Brazel said that although the system was transparent, it could benefit from some "relatively minor improvements" that would allow smaller firms to compete more effectively, including less prescriptive tenders, dividing contracts into smaller lots as far as possible, and supporting sub-contracting and consortium tender.
Meanwhile, Sagem has announced it is to launch its new slimline my411x mobile phone for the pre-pay market. The device is now available to Meteor customers, and comes with a free Sagem H2 Bluetooth headset. The phone has a mirrored finish and comes with a built-in MP3 player, a VGA camera, a media player and is WAP 2.0 and Java compatible.
Cars may soon be able to communicate with each other, if a research initiative spearheaded by IBM comes to fruition. The tech giant is looking into equipping cars with technologies that can help reduce traffic congestion and prevent accidents. The vehicles will have electronic "reflexes" that will be able to adapt to conditions and situations faster than human actions. "The idea is that the driver always stays in control, but gets additional information to help make judgment calls," says Dan Chevion, initiator of the exploratory research project at the IBM Haifa Research Lab.
The European Commission has fined Spanish firm Telefonica over EUR151 million for more than five years of abuse of its dominant position in the Spanish broadband market. The Commission found that the firm was imposing unfair prices, in the form of a margin squeeze between the wholesale prices it charged to competitors and the retail prices it charged to its own customers. According to the Commission this weakened Telefonica's competitors and forced them to incur losses to match Telefonica's retail prices. This led to Spanish consumers paying 20 percent more than the EU-15 average for broadband access.