Low inflation may complicate Budget maths

Business Editor David Murphy There is growing sense that the recovery is taking hold – and it is easy to forget that Ireland has pencilled in another austerity Budget for October. That is due to take a substantial €2 billion out of the economy. Ideally, Finance Minister Michael Noonan would like to ease up on belt tightening. But his problem is inflation – or the lack of it.

10 things we noticed at Mobile World Congress 2014

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona @willgoodbody After three brain frying, feet swelling, mind boggling days in Barcelona, our coverage of Mobile World Congress is coming to an end. We’ve reported extensively on the big announcements and the Irish angles. But here’s 10 less talked about devices, trends and issues that we noticed during our marathon trek around the vast complex of booths and stands:

Answering Ireland’s call at Mobile World Congress

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona @willgoodbody Your product or service may be new. It may be clever. It may even be unique. But when you are a company competing on the global stage, in a massive market which changes second by second, getting people to take notice of you is not easy. That’s the challenge facing the 50 or so Irish and Northern Irish companies taking part in Mobile World Congress this week.

Mobile World Congress Day One – First Impressions

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona @willgoodbody As a first time visitor to Mobile World Congress, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew it would be big, though not quite as enormous as it is. Set across eight massive halls, each equivalent in size or bigger than the RDS Simmonscourt, even getting around is a challenge. The other thing you notice is the international nature of the delegates. Telecoms and the internet are global, and …

Mobile World Congress 2014 – what to expect

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody It’s that time of the year again. When the world’s mobile moguls congregate in Barcelona, for one of (if not) the biggest mobile phone extravaganza – Mobile World Congress (MWC). For five days hardware manufacturers, telecoms operators, app and software developers, journalists and other interested onlookers, will discuss and showcase the latest developments in mobile, and the trends for the future. So what can we expect from this year’s show? First of …

Valuing WhatsApp

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody Because it’s free. The straight answer given to me by a number of young people this morning, when I asked them why they use WhatsApp. But while their attraction to the messaging service is clear, the question of why Facebook would shell out a mesmerising $19bn for the four year old company remains something of a mystery. A deal which puts its $1bn purchase of Instagram in the ha’penny place.

Borrowers cut adrift in great mortgage sell-off

By Business Editor David Murphy The escalating row about the State’s sale of 13,000 IBRC mortgages is far bigger than it seems at first glance. Evidence suggests the Government has left these borrowers unfairly exposed. Also, the Minister for Finance’s policy clears the way for other banks to sell mortgages to unregulated companies if they wish.

More tax dodger news

By Economics Editor Sean Whelan Once upon a time tax dodging was relatively easy; you just got your cash to the Isle of Man or Jersey and slipped it into a bank account owned by a nominee holding company. And there the trail would end. Over time it has become harder and harder to get away with this old trick, and today the OECD published a plan to make simple tax dodging by off-shoring really difficult to pull off.

Electric cars only a spark of genius away from acceptance

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent @willgoodbody For many years I’ve been fascinated by the concept of electric cars. Full of questions about what they are like to drive, how quiet they are, what it’s like to charge them, is ‘range anxiety’ overblown and do you need to be a bit of tree hugger to want one? Not so fascinated, I should add, that I was tempted to buy one last year, when I was forced to change my …

Banking as a profession?

Here is another of my very lazy “blogs”, this one courtesy of a consultation document on the possible development of a bankers professional body in Britain. The consultation is being carried out by Sir Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times and former boss of the Confederation of British Industry. He was asked to look at setting up a standards-raising body by the chairmen of Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Standard Chartered and Nationwide …