Planet Business


LAURA SLATTERYlooks back on the week in business

Image of the week: Sick Europe

The woman pictured in the cap ominously decorated with skulls and crossbones is a hospital intern who was among those marching through Paris this week, in protest against working conditions in the health service of Europe’s second largest economy. Hundreds of doctors in lab coats and surgical caps took to the streets for the event on Monday, sparked by new restrictions on the amounts they can charge over and above fixed state reimbursements. Paris was not quiet for long. Two days later, French unions led a protest against austerity policies in solidarity with similar demonstrations across Europe organised by the European Trade Union Confederation, with violent clashes erupting in Spain and Portugal.

Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

In numbers: Microsoft woes


Percentage drop in the share price of Microsoft over the past five years, compared to a decline of 6.6 per cent on the Standard and Poor’s 500 index.


Percentage drop in its share price on Wednesday after the exit of senior executive Steven Sinofsky.


Microsoft’s total revenue in the July-September quarter.


Revenue earned by Apple in the same quarter from the iPhone alone.

The Lexicon: Digital laggards

UPC’s Digital Future report says Irish people are “digital optimists” (as opposed to analogue pessimists). It also breaks down the population into three categories – “digital leaders”, “digital followers” and “digital laggards” – based on their wifi usage, broadband speeds, home working trends, online purchases and time spent online. Hipster tech types might be disappointed to learn that the report, based on a study carried out for UPC by Amárach Research, categorises a whole 30 per cent of consumers as “digital leaders” – not much exclusivity there. Only 8 per cent of consumers fall into the “digital laggards” group, though this rises to 14 per cent among businesses. There’s a test you can take online at

Getting to know Margaret Hodge

British Labour MP Margaret Hodge did a pretty thorough and scathing job this week chairing a parliamentary hearing into the amount of tax not paid by Starbucks, Google, Amazon et al. When a Google representative explained that its complicated tax arrangements simply availed of existing tax law, Hodge replied, “we are not accusing you of being illegal, we are accusing you of being immoral”. That’s cleared that up, then. Unfortunately, for Hodge, the tax bill paid by her own family company has been revealed to be strikingly Google-esque in size.