by Mark Chillingworth

That was January 2011

Jan 31, 2011
IT Leadership

Jan 5th IT job opportunities jumped by 23 per cent year-on-year in December, according to the Reed IT Job Index. It said growing demand from the private sector was responsible for the increase, as new public sector jobs fell to less than half the level of a year ago. Firefox was the most used browserin Europe in December, edging out Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the first time, according to web analytics service StatCounter. The open source browser held a 38.11 per cent market share in Europe, while IE had a 37.52 per cent share.

7th LinkedIn may become the first social network to register for an initial public offering. The Wall Street Journal reported that LinkedIn will file papers in the first quarter of 2011 in pursuit of an IPO. “It will be a good test of how valuable these companies might be,” said Dan Olds of The Gabriel Consulting Group.

BP’s monitoring IT systemson the failed Deepwater Horizon oil rig relied too heavily on engineers following complex data for long periods of time, instead of providing automatic warning alerts. That is a key verdict of the Oil Spill Commission, the authority tasked by Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

11th Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmerreplaced Bob Muglia as the head of the firm’s Server and Tools Business. Muglia will leave Microsoft this summer. AMD announced that Dirk Meyer had resignedfrom the post of CEO, and that the company was beginning to search for a new chief executive. The company has appointed CFO Thomas Seifert as interim CEO.

12th The Royal Bank of Scotland and subsidiary NatWest have been fined a total of £2.8mfor failing to respond properly to customer complaints, after poor management of a database hindered key processes. The banks were criticised for the way they logged information on a central complaints management database. The banks accepted the conclusions of the FSA investigation and as a result the fine was lower than the £4m penalty that could have been issued.

13th Paul Coby, CIO at British Airways, has stepped down after 10 years in the role. Coby, who subsequently wrote in his blog that “24×7 IT operational excellence” was the “foundation of everything the airline does”, said BA’s merger with Iberia played a part in the decision. He will continue as the BA nominated director on the board of airline body SITA, which he currently chairs.

17th Apple CEO Steve Jobswill take a leave of absence from the company for medical reasons, but will remain involved in major strategic decisions, the company said. He will leave day-to-day operations to COO Tim Cook. This is the second leave of ‘medical absence’ Jobs has taken. Earlier in the month Jobs picked up his annual $1 (65p) salary – he also holds about 5.5 million Apple shares – and was set to announce a tie-in with News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch to help unveil The Daily, an iPad-only digital daily newspaper based in New York and Los Angeles and expected to cost 99¢ (64p) a week.

21st Google co-founder Larry Pagewill take over as Google CEO in April from Eric Schmidt, who will remain with the company as executive chairman. The change is an attempt to streamline the company’s top-level decision-making process, the company said, when it reported its 2010 fourth-quarter earnings. On a conference call, Schmidt said in his new job he will focus more on external issues, working with customers, partners and government.

24th Facebook raised $1.5 billion in its latest funding round, putting its total valuation at $50 billion and leaving no doubt about its swift ascent in recent years to become a major internet player and challenger to Google. Facebook will use the money to boost its cash reserves and gain “financial flexibility” without significant dilution to current shareholders.

27th Betfair, the internet betting exchange, revealed it is moving some of its future R& D activities to the cloud to improve the efficiency of its development line. The betting company currently operates many of its third-party applications on hosting provider Rackspace, which has launched its UK cloud infrastructure with more than 500 customers in beta. Betfair plans to take advantage of Rackspace’s cloud to speed up the building of some applications. Tesco named Mike McNamara as its new CIO, responsible for IT strategy and operations across the supermarket chain. McNamara fills the role vacated by new Tesco CEO Philip Clarke, who succeeds Sir Terry Leahy from 1 March. He will report directly to Clarke, and is one of seven new members of the new Executive Committee, which also includes Ken Towle as internet retailing director. 31st The Cabinet Officeconfirmed that DWP CIO Joe Harleywill become government wide chief information officer. The Cabinet Office has also announced that it will recruit a Director of ICT Futures, reporting to the Chief Information Officer.