IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 28 February
O2 increases bill-pay customer numbers | JP Morgan fund in Twitter stake talks
The Irish Times reports that O2 Ireland increased its bill-pay customers last year and added 6,700 new customers in the final quarter of 2010. Bill-pay subscribers increased by 5.4 percent, or 38,000, in the year to the end of December, driven by increased uptake in mobile broadband and smartphones. Mobile broadband customers rose to 164,000 by the end of the year and now stand at 170,000. However, total mobile customers fell from 1.714 million at the end of 2009 to 1.696 million a year later, indicating the number of pre-pay users declined. Monthly average revenue per user fell to EUR37.
The Irish Examiner reports that new figures show that more than half of motorists admit to using a handheld mobile phone while driving. A survey by AA found that 54 percent of motorists confess to chatting, texting or surfing the net while in control of a car, up from 50 percent in 2009. "What is interesting is not so much that the number is high -- although it's obviously alarming -- but that the trend is getting worse. That's what's disappointing," said AA's Conor Faughnan.
The paper also notes that Dublin-based Mylunch.ie, a lunchtime discount site, is expanding to Cork. The site provides users with exclusive printable lunch offers and provides daily updated menus for many outlets. "The model has been very successful so far, as retailers want to improve their footfall, without spending a huge chunk on marketing, or making huge discounts where they're only making their costs back on food," said communications manager Shane O'Leary.
The Financial Times reports that a JP Morgan fund is in talks to acquire a stake in Twitter. The fund hopes to acquire 10 percent of the online messaging service for USD450 million, valuing Twitter at USD4.5 billion, according to sources. It is not clear if the JPMorgan fund will make a direct investment or buy out existing investors and shareholders with Twitter's approval. The deal has not yet closed.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google's move last week to lower the search rankings of websites that the company said offer little useful information appears to be having a dramatic impact. According to firms that study search-engine data, many websites that previously ranked highly in searches for certain keywords on Google dropped sharply following the change in the company's search algorithms. Some of the sites that were hurt defended the quality of their content, arguing that they had been unfairly lumped in with bad sites.
The paper also says that US deals website Groupon is teaming up with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings to launch a website in China. The site, GaoPeng.com, will offer discounts at shops in China via daily e-mails. The service will initially cover Beijing and Shanghai before expanding to other cities.
The Sunday Independent reports that downloading an e-book from Irish book retailer Eason is likely to set consumers back considerably more than the price of the paperback version, according to a survey. Last week, visitors to Eason.ie saw that electronic versions of the latest titles cost as much as double the price of the same book in paperback.
The Sunday Times reports that a new social network backed by Irish investors has settled a lawsuit brought against it by clothing company Gap. Gapnote, a website set up in the US by Cork entrepreneur Greg Murphy, was the defendant in a case filed by Gap over allegations of trademark infringement. The site will now launch under the name Happeo.
The Sunday Business Post reports that Irish startup HealthComms has developed an innovative new product that could help the elderly keep in contact with family using touchscreen software. The MyHomeReach software allows two-way visual communication between users at the touch of a button.
The paper also says that digital agency Arekibo has won a new deal with Magee that has seen it develop a new e-commerce platform for the clothing firm. The value of the deal was not disclosed.
The same paper notes that a European study has found that Irish children are starting to use the internet on average from the age of nine -- a year later than kids in Britain and two years later than in Denmark and Sweden. Fifty-three percent of Irish children are online every day.
The paper also notes that Trilogy has secured a deal with Kells-based polyester manufacturer Wellman International to supply it with a new IT infrastructure and disaster recovery solution. The value of the deal was not released.
The paper also says that websites using the newly sanctioned domain .xxx will be available to purchase in Ireland this summer.
The same paper reports that Louth-based 3D printing firm Mcor is in the process of raising EUR1.2 million in new funding. The company will use the money to finance the global rollout of its Matrix 300 printer.
Free! "In the papers" email newsletter -- get the full text to your in-box every business day. Email email@example.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.