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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

Five years ago, you had to have a couple of Michelin stars, your own TV show, or have concocted the next big food trend to earn a publishing deal that launched your new cookbook.

Now it's all about your followers on social media.

Thirteen-year-old Californian food blogger Chase Bailey - who has autism - has just written his first cookbook after gaining more than 200,000 views for his YouTube page, Chase 'N Yur Face.

His weekly posts see him cooking new recipes, working with established chefs and teaching his thousands of subscribers to cook soups and macaroni cheese dishes.

"Food influencers like Chase have definitely changed how we look for new authors," Chase's publisher, James Fraioli of Culinary Book Creations, tells the BBC.

US teenager Chase Bailey has just published his first cookbook
"Blogging and vlogging [video blogging] provide an additional and invaluable resource for connecting with people - it's information and trends that we might have otherwise missed."

The fact that publishers are increasingly thinking like this is an indication of how the digital economy is creating new types of jobs and shaking up the way traditional industries operate.

Where's the beef?

Food vloggers and bloggers are the new ones to watch.

Madeleine Shaw, author of cookbook Get The Glow, started by blogging her healthy recipes on her website.

As a nutritional adviser she built up her followers via social media. Now, with 40,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 250,000 on Instagram, her second cookbook, Ready, Steady, Glow, has just been released and she also regularly works with brands such as Brita, the water filter company.

Nutritionist Madeleine Shaw started by blogging about healthy recipes on her website

Brands are seeing the benefits of tapping in to these ready-made audiences.

For example, fast-food giant McDonald's recently worked with "food, travel and lifestyle" vlogger Doug Armstrong to tell the story of how McDonald's burgers are made.

The company allowed Mr Armstrong to record a video where he visited a beef farm, meat-processing factory, and kitchen. The aim was to promote directly to his fans how the Big Mac burger is made.

Although he was paid to make the video, Mr Armstrong was given full editorial control, McDonald's insists. That said, it's hard to imagine the video appearing had Mr Armstrong ended up advocating vegetarianism.

As it was, the video attracted more than 2.2 million views.

Doug Armstrong's video about a McDonald's Big Mac has had more than 2.2 million views
"Influencers single-handedly build a relationship with their audience based on expertise, authenticity, and trust," says Arya Alatsas, director at digital influencer agency, Nuffnang.

"They voluntarily give up their privacy, spend countless hours creating content and engaging with others, and passionately share what they care about by granting us an insight into their lives, thoughts, and interests."

Agencies like Nuffnang are popping up all over the world to make the most of popular people on social media.

This benefits the brand but also the influencer - allowing both of them to gain more followers on social media platforms.

"With social media and technology flooding the internet with over 200 million pieces of content a minute, it's essential that brands find a way to break through the noise," says Kirsty Sharman from online marketing agency, Webfluential.

"Influencer marketing is one of the proven ways to do this," she says. "In 2015, Google actually classified the search phrase 'influencer marketing' as a breakout trend - which means it experienced growth of over 5,000%."

Cook up a career

The sharing economy is also having an impact on the world of food.

VizEat is an online service that hooks up cooks who are happy to prepare meals in their own homes, with diners who fancy a unique, more intimate experience - like AirBnB for great homemade meals.

VizEat encourages food influencers from all over the world to tuck in - the social dining platform allows users to eat in hosts' houses all over the world, and encourages food bloggers and Instagrammers to sign up as hosts.

VizEat dinners are informal, intimate occasions - another example of the sharing economy
Alla Driksne, a VizEat host, doesn't just cook for guests every week, but also uses the app to promote herself online and offline.

The VizEat app combines her social media profiles and food vlogs, resulting in more shares, "likes" and exposure for her.

Recently one of her YouTube videos gained two million views in just a couple of weeks.

Ms Driksne sees it as a platform on which to be seen by others.

"It allows me to connect with a new, wider audience - outside of my networks. It is a means of advertising a service that I offer as well as helping me to boost my public profile - hopefully leading to me being able to do what I love full time."

Treasured recipe

Most people in the industry will tell you they expect this trend to continue, and that brands will push these popular bloggers and vloggers to spearhead international campaigns.

"What the industry will see more of in 2016 is influencer marketing strategies that span across different continents," says Webfluential's Ms Sharman.

Alla Driksne says being a VizEat host helps raise her profile

"One of the great things about influencer marketing is that brands producing global messaging can work with local influencers, in different markets, to localise the content and share the message in a way that's unique to each country."

The tricky part for influencers and brands is making sure they don't fall foul of local advertising regulations - making it clear to viewers and readers when content is paid-for promotional material, for example.

And influencers have to be careful not to associate themselves with brands that might lose them followers rather than gain them.
But however the digital economy develops, there can be little doubt that food will remain a perennially popular topic with people around world.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

T-Mobile US is to offer about 10 million of its customers free shares as the fast-growing company attempts to take on its larger rivals.

Pay-monthly customers can get one share - now worth $43.07 - with the chance of more for referring new customers.

"This has never been done before," by a public company, claimed chief executive John Legere.

T-Mobile, the third biggest US network after Verizon and AT&T, has a reputation for innovative promotions.

It styles itself as the "uncarrier", offering customers free video-streaming options, gifts, tie-ups with ticket agency StubHub, and customer-friendly data plans that have been copied by rivals.

The oversaturated US mobile market has sparked a price war with providers fighting for market share.

T-Mobile customers qualifying for a free share will be able to earn up to 100 more if they refer new subscribers.

The company said in a statement that some long-term customers will qualifying for two extra shares per referral.

Mr Legere, known for his boisterous presentations and love of social media, said: "Get ready for a gratitude adjustment, America.

This Un-carrier move is all about giving you a good thanking! No strings. No gotchas. Just 'thank you for being a customer'".

T-Mobile US chief marketing officer Andrew Sherrard told the Reuters new agency: "Some [free offers] will cost us some money but over time we think it will be a really good investment."

The company, controlled by Deutsche Telekom, said it added 2.2 million customers on a net basis in the first quarter ending 31 March.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

More than 30 north London teenagers who became trapped by rising coastal tides were rescued after using their mobile phones as distress beacons.

The 34 youngsters and two adults from the Ahavat Yisrael Community Centre were on a half term trip to the Kent coast.
They got lost in an area prone to rock falls and called Kent Police for help.

Mark Finnis, coxswain of Dover RNLI, said the group had passed "nine warning signs" deterring them from the walk.
"It could have ended up a whole lot worse," Mr Finnis told BBC London.

"None of the people we took on board our lifeboat were dressed in any attire that you would associate with clambering over rocks."

The youngsters used their phone lights to help rescuers find them

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the group were advised to use the lights from their phones to aid the search for them.
A rescue helicopter based in Lydd was involved in the operation, along with three lifeboats - two from Dover and one from 

"The group was located by one of the Walmer lifeboats in the area of active cliff falls and also spotted by a helicopter using the forward-looking infra red camera," said Richard Cockerill, UK Coastguard's senior maritime operations officer.
"All 36 people were recovered to safety by lifeboat and helicopter."

In a statement, the community centre in Stamford Hill, north London, said it was "hugely grateful" to the coastguard, whose "swift actions ensured that everyone was returned to the shore safe and well".

It promised a full investigation to "ascertain the facts".

The group was rescued from an area prone to cliff rock falls

Five of the group were airlifted to safety, but most were taken ashore by lifeboat
It is understood the group had descended on to the beach from a coastal path between St Margaret's Bay and Dover when they were caught by rising waters, a coastguard spokeswoman said.

After being spotted using night-vision cameras, 31 members of the group were taken ashore and the remaining five were airlifted to the Dover Coastguard station.

All members were accounted for by 23:00 and were "safe and well".

"Thankfully, the quick and well co-ordinated search and rescue response meant all 36 were rescued and were lucky to escape without serious injuries, but they've had a traumatic experience," Mr Finnis said.

The Port of Dover later tweeted that the group's rescue "was a lesson to us all to be careful around water and check tidal information".

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

Google is going to pit its world-famous "AlphaGo" AI against humanity's current world number one Go player, according to Ars Technica, which cites a report from Chinese state news agency Xinhua that was published on Sunday.

The self-learning program, developed by Google-owned AI lab, DeepMind, successfully defeated Go grandmaster Lee Se-Dol over a five-match tournament in March, but Ars Technica writes that Lee was only ranked number four in the world at the time.

The world's best Go player, based on their "Elo score," is in fact an 18-year-old called Ke Jie, who turned pro in 2008 when he was just 10-years-old.

Go is a two-player turn-based strategy game. Each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player. It's easy to pick up but takes years to master.

Despite being relatively simple, it has been notoriously difficult for computers to master because of the sheer number of potential moves. While AI programs began being able to beat humans at chess decades ago, the best Go players in the world have always been able to outsmart Go-playing software — until recently.

Back in March, after AlphaGo beat Lee for the first time, Ke reportedly said: "I don’t want to compete with AlphaGo because judging from its matches with Lee, AlphaGo is weaker than me. I don’t want AlphaGo to copy my style."

He reportedly did a bit of showing off on his Weibo account too, writing: "Even if AlphaGo can defeat Lee Se-dol, it can’t beat me."

After watching AlphaGo continue to take on Lee, Ke changed his mind. He reportedly said: "AlphaGo was perfect and made no mistake. If the conditions are the same, it is highly likely that I can lose."

Citing Xinhua, Ars Technica says the match will take place before the end of the year. The publication reportedly said discussions are ongoing and both sides are "inclined to make it happen."

A Google DeepMind spokesperson told Ars Technica: "We're still exploring options for AlphaGo's next steps, but don't have anything to share at this time."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Jun 2016

6 June 2016 · By Zen Terrelonge

Virgin Trains has seemingly taken inspiration from Netflix with the launch of BEAM, a free on-board entertainment platform designed to deliver luxury and convenience with some 200 hours of content for passengers, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, House of Cards, Top Gear and Frozen.

“At Virgin Trains we pride ourselves on continuously improving our customers’ on-board experience"
The complimentary service will run as an app available for Android and iOS from Google Play and the App Store respectively.

With the BEAM platform designed to offer a spot of luxury, customers have a huge of array of new and old films alike to choose from, with everything from The Wolf of Wall Street to breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Passengers can also tune into TV shows such as House of Cards and Poldark, while kids can view Peppa Pig and Ben 10. There are also magazines to read too, with Top Gear, Total Film, Grazie and Men’s Health among them.

Patrick McCall, co-Chairman for Virgin Trains, said: “The new BEAM app will make our passengers’ journeys fly by, feeling like they’ve arrived at their destinations before they know it. We’ve worked really hard to provide a fantastic range of entertainment to cater to all of our customers’ tastes and are really proud to offer this service that is the first of its kind to the train industry.”

The travel company teamed with GoMedia for the app’s development, while content will be updated on a monthly basis. Downloading the app to a smartphone or tablet before boarding means passengers can board and view content until leaving the train, and viewing can be continued from the same point during the return journey.

Virgin Trains is marking its entertainment-centric push with a celebration of the release of Independence Day: Resurgence. Director Roland Emmerich and stars Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum witnessed the unveiling of a new train design that revolves around the sci-fi movie.

McCall continued: “At Virgin Trains we pride ourselves on continuously improving our customers’ on-board experience and so will continue to update the content on BEAM to guarantee our passengers have the latest entertainment on offer.

“The new service is more advanced than the systems currently available on planes as customers use their own devices, which normally have larger screens with better picture quality than standard seat-back devices.”

Source: realbusiness.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 1st Jun 2016

CFO also departs after major blunder

An Austrian plane manufacturing company has fired its CEO of 17 years after he fell for an email scam that cost the company $56.79m (£39m).

Waltar Stephan was the CEO of FACC when he fell for a 'fake president' scam in which criminals pretend to be someone high up in a company and send a personalised email to someone equally high up in the company talking of the need for a secret transaction.

The company said: "In the supervisory board meeting, held on May 24 2016, Mr Walter Stephan was revoked by the supervisory board as chairman of the management board of FACC AG with immediate effect.

"The supervisory board came to the conclusion that Mr Walter Stephan has severely violated his duties, in particular in relation to the 'Fake President Incident'. Mr Robert Machtlinger was appointed as interim CEO of FACC AG."

The company has managed to recover about a fifth of the stolen money, but the rest has disappeared into accounts in Slovakia and Asia, wiping a huge chunk off the company's share value, which bounced back on news of the sacking.

The company's chief financial officer has also left the firm in the wake of the debacle.

FACC can take some comfort, though, as a Belgian bank lost its shirt in the same scam to the tune of $75.8m.

The scam relies partly on ego, i.e. the assumption that a senior person is important enough not to double check a huge financial transaction, possibly the result of a takeover.

Snapchat admitted earlier this year that employee details were accidentally sent to a scammer after a staff member fell for a phishing email that purported to come from the CEO.

These attacks, often dubbed 'whaling' because they go after high-profile targets, are increasingly common as the pay-off for a successful attack is enormous, and has to succeed only once.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 1st Jun 2016

V3 looks at some of the biggest phishing scams to date

Phishing or spear phishing has been around for many years but, unlike many other cyber attacks, they aren't overly sophisticated. The idea is to get someone in a company or a group of people to click on a bogus link in an attempt to acquire sensitive information or access to systems.

The method is being increasingly used around the world. Nearly 100,000 people reported receiving phishing emails in 2015 in the UK alone, which equates to nearly 8,000 a day.

Here are some of the biggest phishing attacks so far:

5. The UK's biggest phishing scam

The Met Police's Action Fraud unit estimated that £59m worth of fraud was prevented in the UK after three men were convicted of launching sophisticated phishing scams to access the accounts of bank customers in 14 countries.

About 2,600 phishing pages that mimicked banking websites were analysed by the Met Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the US Secret Service.

The men behind the scam were traced to the UK, where they stayed in plush hotels in London while continuing to scam victims.

They were eventually caught using laptops to log-in to servers storing compromised banking data.

Officers later discovered servers containing details of 30,000 bank customers, 12,500 of which were in the UK, and 70 million customer email addresses to be used in phishing scams.

The men were jailed for a total of 20 years. Investigating officer DI Jason Tunn said at the time that it was the "biggest case the PCeU has dealt with to date and is likely to be the biggest cyber phishing case so far in the UK".

4. Operation Phish Phry

US and Egyptian authorities charged 100 people in 2009 for using phishing scams to steal account details from hundreds, possibly thousands, of people and transferring about $1.5m into fake accounts.

A two-year investigation dubbed Operation Phish Phry led to the discovery of a group of fraudsters who targeted US bank account holders using phishing techniques.

The bank fraud charges alone could have meant some of those charged would spend 20 years in jail.

The director of the FBI at the time called it the "largest international phishing case ever conducted"

3. CEO phishing for a new job after being scammed

Forrester suggests the CIO isn't respectecd by some business peers

Plane part manufacturer FACC fired its CEO of 17 years after he fell for a phishing scam that cost the company $56.79m (about £39m).

Criminals pretended to be someone high up in the company and sent an email to CEO Waltar Stephan talking of the need for a secret transaction. Stephan fell for the scam and was fired with immediate effect.

"The supervisory board came to the conclusion that Mr Walter Stephan has severely violated his duties, in particular in relation to the ‘Fake President Incident'," the company said.

The firm did manage to recoup about a fifth of the money, but the rest disappeared into accounts in Slovakia and Asia, wiping a huge chunk off the company's share value.

Stephan wasn't the only one to suffer as a result of the scam, as the firm's CFO also left the company.

2. Target data breach began with a phishing attack

The huge data breach that affected 110 million customers in 2013 is thought to have stemmed from a phishing attack.

The breach is likely to have been initiated through Fazio Mechanical Services (FSM), a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor in Pittsburgh. The firm was connected to Target's systems to provide electronic billing services, contract submissions and project management services.

Reports suggest that network credentials were stolen in an email malware attack at FSM that began at least two months before thieves started stealing card data from thousands of Target cash registers.

The breach cost Target hundreds of millions of dollars, and the firm fired its CEO and CIO. CIO Beth Jacobs, was accused of knowing about the flaws in her department, but doing too little to minimise the risks, while CEO Gregg Steinhafel was criticised for taking computer security too lightly.

1. Security firm gets hit by a phishing scam

What's worse than a CEO falling for a phishing scam, or indeed a huge retailer like Target suffering a colossal data breach? Yep, a security firm getting hit by a phishing attack.

RSA suffered a data breach in March 2011 but kept tight-lipped about how the attack occurred. Weeks later, the firm revealed that a spear phishing attack exploited an Adobe Flash vulnerability that was unpatched at the time.

The attack enabled criminals to get hold of master keys for all RSA SecureID security tokens, which were then subsequently used to break into US defence suppliers' networks.

Source: v3.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st May 2016

The BBC Micro Bit, the tiny computing device designed to get children coding, is going on sale to the general public.

The device is already being delivered, free, to one million Year 7 children in schools across the UK.

Now it will also be available to buy from the various partners in the project for £12.99.

Commercial availability of the Micro Bit follows the signing of a licensing deal with the device's manufacturer, the Leeds-based company, element 14.

The firm says it will only sell them in batches of 90.

But retailers including Microsoft, the Technology Will Save Us organisation and Sciencescope will offer individual devices.

Owners of the Micro Bit can write code for it via a website designed by Microsoft

Element 14 is part of Premier Farnell, one of the distributors of the very successful Raspberry Pi barebones computer. Richard Curtin, strategic alliance director at element 14, is expecting a similar reception for the Micro Bit.
"It's going to be huge," he told me."We've already got a pipeline of orders including foreign governments who've seen what has happened in the UK."

The Micro Bit was meant to be the flagship of the BBC's Make It Digital season last year but suffered a number of delays. It started arriving in schools this spring and the BBC says it has now been delivered to about 80% of schools and roughly 750,000 Year 7 children (11 and 12-year olds).

While I have heard plenty of enthusiasm from those children who have got their hands on it - and there are already plenty of exciting projects on display - there have also been frustrations from teachers.

A number have told me that the Micro Bit has arrived far too late in the school year to be of much use - "starting after half term, it's come far too late to get proper use out of it, plus concerns about handling/failures" was one comment this morning.
But another teacher said this: "Got ours just before Easter hols. Kids are loving using them and are even buying add-ons for them, building projects at home etc."

It is late in the year - although the Micro Bits belong to the children who will take them home over the summer holidays.

Until now, only Year 7 schoolchildren in the UK had access to their own Micro Bits

The hope must be that their enthusiasm will continue as they join Year 8 in September, though of course there is a risk that their devices will be lost or broken by then.

The real test, however, will be whether schools and parents decide that the next Year 7 children will benefit from getting their own Micro Bits.

They could decide it is worthwhile investing in the devices now they are going to be available to buy. And there is also the prospect of some being made available for free again.

Element 14 tells me it is paying a licensing fee for the use of the BBC and Micro Bit brands - but that all of that money will be going to a charitable trust with the aim of providing an educational legacy.

The Micro Bit is entering what is now quite a crowded market for simple educational computing devices.

But if it does prove as good a seller as the Raspberry Pi, then a windfall for the charity could mean more Year 7 children getting their hands on one.

Source: bbc.co.uk
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st May 2016

Since the nineties, Apple and Microsoft have been racing to get a computer into the living room.

By the end of 2015, it finally looked like both had succeeded: The new Apple TV supports the Apple App Store; Microsoft updated the Xbox One to run a version of the Windows 10 operating system.

And this week, a report came out that indicated that the Apple TV will soon be getting an upgrade that turns it into a smart Siri-powered home assistant, a lot like the smash hit Amazon Echo.

In the past, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that its Xbox One games console will fill a similar role, starting with the arrival of Cortana in a forthcoming update.

It means that for once, the long-time frenemies have aligning philosophies: Microsoft and Apple see the television as the most-desired real estate in the home. And if people want a voice-powered home assistant that can control their connected home appliances, that's where they're going to deliver it.

But Amazon and Google are going in an entirely different direction.

With the Amazon Echo and the recently-announced Google Home assistant, these relatively newer companies are betting on something a little more ambient — a gadget that's always on and standing by, unlike a television, and that can be comfortably stashed anywhere with a power outlet. Amazon even sells mini, hockey-puck sized versions of the Echo so you can have one in every room.

This great philosophical divide, with Microsoft and Apple on one side and Amazon and Google on the other, seems to come from their histories.

Apple and Microsoft got their starts in the early days of the personal computer, decades ago. For most of their histories, "computer" meant "mouse, keyboard, and monitor," in varying configurations.

It wasn't so very long ago that the television seemed like the most logical thing in which to incorporate a computer, given that it's very often the largest screen in the home. And both Apple and Microsoft have strong existing investments in the software developer ecosystem who are already adept at enhancing the capabilities of something with a screen.

Meanwhile, Amazon and Google both rose to prominence in the early days of the internet era, when the network was far more important than any single computer. While both of them have dabbled in device manufacturing, the thing that made Amazon and Google special in the first place was their intelligence they used to power their online services.

Apple and Microsoft are betting that people still want to make the television the center of their lives. Amazon and Google are trying to provide a little more intelligence, everywhere, with or without a screen.

Are Apple and Microsoft too old-fashioned? Or are Amazon and Google too avant-garde? With the whole voice control-slash-conversational interface game still very much in its infancy, there's room for everybody to be right. But as we get more used to talking to our gadgets like they're human, a shakeout seems inevitable.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st May 2016

Google was caught by surprise. Last week, nearly 100 employees of France’s equivalent of the IRS (Direction générale des Finances) raided Google’s office in Paris for a tax non-compliance investigation. French financial prosecutor Éliane Houlette told Europe 1 that her team had been secretly working on this raid for nearly a year. Google may be facing a $1.8 billion fine (€1.6 billion).

Houlette and her team have been a bit paranoid with this investigation. Given Google’s size and reach, the team has been extra cautious, as Google couldn’t know about an upcoming raid in its office in Paris. You don’t want the company to start obfuscating files before you even have a chance to look at them.

That’s why most people at the DGF didn’t even know Houlette was getting serious about this investigation. Her team used the codename “Tulip” when talking about Google, referring to the flowers in the Netherlands.

“We’ve dealt [with this investigation] in complete secret given this company’s business,” Houlette told Europe 1. “In order to protect this secret, we decided that we would give another name to Google and never pronounce Google’s name — Tulip. And we’ve worked offline on this investigation for nearly a year. We used one computer, but only as a word processor.”

The end result is terabytes of data. It’s going to take months, or even years to process all this data, according to Houlette.

Many have asked whether France is willing to do a tax deal like in the U.K. French finance minister Michel Sapin told Reuters that there won’t be any deal. Houlette went even further and said that France’s legislation doesn’t work this way and there’s no way the French government could make a deal with Google.

So it leaves one possibility — a trial. Things could get ugly as this trial could go on and on for years. It would hurt France’s image when it comes to doing business in France. Houlette is also aware of that, so let’s see if the financial prosecutor can find an alternative that won’t be a deal nor a trial.

France’s investigation against Google’s tax schemes started in 2011. According to Google, the company doesn’t do much business in France. It has an office and a marketing team, but no sales team. That’s why most of Google France’s revenue goes to Google’s European HQ in Ireland and the company doesn’t pay much tax in France.

Google then sends most of Google Ireland Limited’s money to Google Netherlands Holdings BV, so that this other subsidiary can send the money to Google Ireland Holdings.

Despite the name, Google Ireland Holdings’ cost center is in Bermuda and is called Google Bermuda Unlimited. And that’s how you end up making money in France while keeping your bank account in Bermuda, where corporate tax doesn’t even exist.

Many European companies use more or less the same process to lower tax rates — and it’s legal. But the main issue with Google in France is that the DGF thinks Google is doing more than just marketing in France. Some Irish contracts could be French and could be subject to French taxes. Hence the investigation.

Source: techcrunch.com
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