A small Irish firm is the reason why Apple can't call its smart watch the iWatch, according to reports.
Reports in Bloomberg News this week, and today's Irish Independent, says that Athlone based Probendi, a software firm that is making its own smartwatch, registered a Europe-wide trademark for the term "iWatch" in August 2008. As a result, Apple may have had to go for the name 'Apple Watch' instead. Probendi was set up by an Italian living in Athlone, Daniele Di Salvo. Its product is a communications service between professional organisations, like some Italian police forces, which use it to transfer photographs. Now the company is getting ready to release its own smartwatch using the iWatch name. And the device is expected to run Android, the operating system made by Apple's rival Google.
Daniele Di Salvo says that his company was spun out from another firm based in Italy back in 2006 and they moved to Ireland because the country is a "very friendly business country". Its customers are in Italy as well as South America. As to whether he had heard from Apple over the name or if they had been in talks about the US firm buying the rights, Mr Di Salvo said he "can not talk about this". But he said his company had been in talks with some Chinese firms about making a rival product under the brand iWatch. He said that talks are continuing, adding that Probendi is good at software but hardware is definitely not its business. He said the company is protecting its trademark, because it has to be done.
English Language School Leinster College on Dublin's Harcourt Street closed yesterday, saying that the closure is on a temporary basis until November 7. The closure has added to fears that the number of English language schools closing could double by the end of the year.
David Moore, of the Irish Council for International Students - which offers support and advice to students - says that new rules are due to come into effect from the start of next year, which are designed to improve the quality of choices available to non-EU students who want to come to Ireland to study. But he says this will reduce the number of options available to them - courses must now be accredited in Ireland to be eligible for a new list that will be drawn up. Further education programmes will no longer be available to students, he added. Quite a significant number of private colleges, currently on the Government's list, will not meet the new criteria. Their business model is based on recruiting non-EU students and once their cash flow dries up, it is feared that they will shut their doors.
MORNING BRIEFS - Ireland is ranked 13th in the World Bank's annual survey Doing Business - up four places on last year. The survey compares business regulations for domestic firms in 189 economies. Ireland scores well for things like trading across borders, paying taxes, and protecting minority investors. There are lower scores for enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Singapore comes first, again, for the ninth year in a row, with New Zealand second and Hong Kong third. At the bottom of the table are Eritrea, Libya, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
*** A statement from Glanbia this morning says the group delivered a good performance in the first nine months of the year, driven mainly by its Global Performance Nutrition division. It says the outlook for full year 2014 is positive and predicts 8% to 10% growth in earnings per share for the full year.
*** Last night Facebook reported third quarter revenues of $3.2 billion - that was well ahead of analysts' forecasts. It also says it made a $806m profit, up 90% on 2013. The social network warned though that its spending will increase sharply next year and its revenue growth will slow in the final three months of the year. That made its shares fall almost 10% in after hours trading, as it also said expenses would be up to 75% higher next year. At the end of September, Facebook had 1.35 billion active users every month, 14% more than in 2013. And the number of people checking their Facebook page at least once a day jumped 19% to 864 million. Its costs increased by 41% during the quarter mainly because it recently bought messaging app WhatsApp and virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift.