The Punt: A coup for BlackBerry
APPLE may have been able to woo the world with its super sleek products, leaving BlackBerry, once prized by all business chiefs, searching for a purpose.
But there's one chief executive who is remaining loyal – US President Barack Obama.
The US commander-in-chief told a gathering of young people that he wasn't allowed to use an iPhone for "security reasons", though he still uses an iPad.
Mr Obama made headlines when he fought to keep his much-loved device after coming to the White House in 2009, though he said only 10 people have his personal email address.
The Canadian company, formerly known as Research In Motion, has been having a tough run of it.
Although it virtually invented the idea of on-the-go email, it lost its market stranglehold as rivals brought out more consumer-friendly devices, like Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android software.
The company recently halted plans to be sold and is trying to chart a new course by focusing on large business and government clients.
Apple can't quite conquer everything, it seems. BlackBerry couldn't ask for a better advertisement.
'Forbes' isn't all praise for Ireland Inc
WHO knew a magazine could cause such fuss? The country erupted yesterday after 'Forbes' magazine released a ranking of the best countries in which to do business, topped by our good selves.
Government officials tripped over themselves to congratulate the country at large. The IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Enda Kenny all voiced their congratulations. Even rugby star Jamie Heaslip weighed in: "We're playing with the big boys and winning," he tweeted.
But we have to ask if they saw the article 'Forbes' linked to in its online coverage of Ireland's success – headlined: "If Ireland is not a tax haven, what is it?"
That took a different view of the successes of Ireland Inc, castigating politicians, business leaders and even newspapers for defending the 12.5pc corporation tax.
"They point out that Ireland does not meet the OECD's definition of tax haven. Well, that's a low standard if there ever was one," wrote US journalist Martin Sullivan. "And they like to say that Ireland is not a tax haven because it is not the legal domicile of letterbox companies but a location for real investment with real business purpose. That's true. But to me, that makes their tax generosity even more offensive because instead of just reducing US tax, they are reducing US jobs."
Hmm. Maybe Mr Kenny and Mr Heaslip should read some previous coverage in 'Forbes' and rethink their congratulations.
Stage set for awards battle
WHAT do organisations as diverse as the ESB, the Irish Dairy Board, Paddywagon Tours and the Royal College of Surgeons all have in common?
Very little, except they're all in the running along with 10 other Irish bodies for a European Business Award.
Open to organisations of all sizes and from any industry sector, the European Business Awards recognise and reward excellence, best practice and innovation in companies across the European Union.
A video from each national champion, telling the story of the company's business and its successes, has been posted online on the European Business Awards website.
The videos can be viewed and voted on until January 2 at: www. businessawardseurope.com/
The national public champion in each country will be the company that receives the highest number of public votes.
On January 14, the video with the highest number of votes for each country, will be announced as a national public champion, and will then go forward to compete in a second round of public voting to find one European public champion.
This second round of voting ends on March 25, 2014.
The business awards have a range of sponsors, including UK Trade and Investment and BP. So tune in and get voting.