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In a 12 months stuffed with vital steps in the direction of Ireland’s information economic system, Google goes public and a surprise materials is fashioned.

In 2004, whereas Facebook was being inbuilt a dorm room, O’Reilly Media hosted the Web 2.0 convention, popularising the brand new buzzword for the participatory, interoperable net now rising. And on 4chan – only one such web site utterly reliant on user-generated content material – an administrator activated a protocol that attributed all posts to Anonymous, sparking a meme that might later change into a collective of hackers.

Mobile gadgets have been multiplying and we now had the Blackberry 7230, the Sharp GX30 digital camera cellphone and the iPod Mini to play with. We could not have gained entry to the iTunes Store but, however Irish rockers U2 had their very own branded iPod.

The Irish Recording Music Association was feeling the pinch from digital downloads and, firstly of the 12 months, threatened to prosecute firms if work computer systems have been used to obtain music illegally. Meanwhile, safety specialists have been warning that ‘always on’ web entry posed some severe dangers.

The foundations of data

In October 2004, Dublin was abuzz with the go to of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The duo got here to deal with the corporate’s newly fashioned Irish group on the official opening of its EMEA headquarters on Barrow Street. At the time, Google Dublin had already employed about 150 individuals and, globally, had reached virtually $1bn in gross sales the earlier 12 months.

Earlier within the 12 months, Meg Whitman, then president and CEO of eBay, was in Blanchardstown for the opening of eBay’s European buyer help centre and the worldwide HQ of subsidiary PayPal. Also in 2004, Yahoo was build up an Irish subsidiary that was first established in 2003, Chinese telco Huawei first set out its stall in Ireland, Dell introduced key EMEA operations in each Limerick and Dublin, and the nation was competing with Luxembourg to change into Amazon’s new European technical and buyer help headquarters.

Ireland’s tech multinational ecosystem was shortly taking form. Meanwhile, early within the 12 months, Enterprise Ireland signalled a coverage change that might see it supporting cutting-edge tech start-ups with extra than simply funding. On the suggestions of its Enterprise Strategy Group, the company started constructing a help system that might fund R&D for product improvement, and assist early-stage firms change into investor-ready via gross sales and administration coaching.

The atmosphere was proper for this with Ireland being named essentially the most entrepreneurially energetic nation in Europe in 2004’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, owing to the sturdy development ambition recognized amongst its founders.

Emerging tech start-ups welcomed the reinstating of the Business Expansion Scheme and Seed Capital Scheme in October, following a nine-month European Commission investigation. The Irish Software Association wasted no time in urging the Government to considerably improve the bounds of those schemes.

The subsequent a part of the puzzle was the R&D ecosystem. In summer time 2004, NUI Galway opened the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) with a €12m grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and help from Hewlett-Packard Galway. DERI got down to be a centre of excellence for analysis on the semantic net with greater than 70 full-time researchers.

A later funding from SFI and Siemens noticed Siemens Research Ireland established within the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to work collectively on biotechnology, bioinformatics and prescription drugs analysis.

Summer additionally noticed the founding of the Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR), the predecessor to the Connect analysis centre. Based at Trinity College Dublin, CTVR obtained main funding from each SFI and Bell Labs, and co-director Dr Donal O’Mahony spoke to Siliconrepublic.com of the commercialisation benefits such a dual-funding construction introduced.

Academic analysis additionally obtained an SFI stimulus with a €20m joint initiative with the Higher Education Authority aimed toward boosting analysis services throughout Irish universities. Nearing the shut of the 12 months, then Minister for Enterprise Micheál Martin, TD, mentioned the Government’s whole spend on R&D from 2000 to 2006 would signify a fivefold improve on the earlier interval on the shut of the twentieth century.

This twenty first century angle to analysis and innovation additionally noticed the Government set up the workplace of chief scientific adviser, putting in Barry McSweeney as the primary on this position. Also, decided that its National Broadband Plan would succeed, the Government urged Irish telcos to drive additional broadband subscriptions, whereas the drop-out charge in ICT programs at third degree began to ease.

And so, in its end-of-year overview, the IDA confidently declared Ireland a information economic system, formally. Closing out its greatest 12 months since 2000, the IDA had investments from Intel, Bell Labs, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Pfizer, Dell, McAfee and extra to thank for it.

Google’s inventory take

The greatest single information story of 2004 was maybe the Google IPO. Filing for its preliminary public providing in February, Google despatched a letter to traders stating that the corporate could be run for the long-term advantage of shareholders, not the short-term gratification of Wall Street. “As a private company, we have concentrated on the long term, and this has served us well. As a public company, we will do the same,” the letter learn.

The auction-style IPO got here in August, after some last-minute hitches and a quick delay in getting the go-ahead from the US Securities and Exchange Commission following a controversial Playboy interview.

Google lastly floated on the Nasdaq inventory market on 19 August with a share value of $85 valuing the corporate at $23bn. Shares ended the day’s buying and selling at $100, upping Google’s valuation to $27.2bn and making billionaires of founders Page and Brin. Two months later, that share value continued on the up. Google’s valuation shot far previous that of rival Yahoo, which had itself been issued tens of millions of shares to settle a key phrase promoting patent lawsuit.

The starting of the tip of e-voting

With native and European Parliament elections because of happen in June 2004, the Government determined it was time to observe via on its 2002 trials of e-voting machines and roll the system out nationally. Speed and accuracy have been touted as the good benefits of e-voting and a €4.5m publicity marketing campaign was launched to heat the general public to the concept.

But the choice was not with out its detractors. Leading the way in which was watchdog organisation Irish Citizens for Trustworthy E-voting (ICTE), an umbrella group of laptop professionals, lecturers and anxious residents. Chief amongst their considerations have been an absence of transparency within the supply code and skepticism that the system had been sufficiently examined.

While ICTE was contemplating authorized motion towards e-voting being launched, laptop skilled and election skilled Joe McCarthy declared that points with the system have been “rampant” and that it was “impossible for a professional to stand over this system”.

Later, in a twist laden with irony, it emerged that 5 submissions made to the Commission on Electronic Voting via its web site weren’t detected as a result of that they had been saved on one other laptop.

When all submissions have been accounted for, it was clear an enormous majority have been towards the proposed e-voting system and, in April, the plan to make use of it was scrapped.

Graphene is go

Graphene, a surprise materials simply one-atom thick, was correctly remoted and characterised in 2004. It was achieved by way of the ‘Scotch tape technique’ of pulling graphene layers from graphite utilizing an on a regular basis piece of sticky tape.

This work would finally earn University of Manchester researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov a Nobel Prize in Physics. The (comparatively) easy preparation technique that they had found sparked a graphene gold rush because the distinctive properties of this materials discovered all types of experimental software.

In different information

January: NASA’s Opportunity and Spirit rovers land on Mars.

2 February: ESB enters the wholesale broadband market as its €50m fibre optic community is formally opened.

4 February: 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launches TheFacebook.com as a Harvard-only social community.

6 February: SiliconRepublic.com reveals plans from the Department of Education to ship broadband connectivity to all of Ireland’s major and secondary faculties.

27 February: The first of the 19 metropolitan space networks in part one of many National Broadband Plan is switched on in Cork.

4 March: Tralee-based PulseLearning wins a contract to provide coaching companies to 1,700 NASA employees.

4 March: Michael Dell declares that he’ll step down as Dell CEO however keep on as chair.

17 March: ComReg studies that just about half of Irish households now entry the web.

19 March: Eircom returns to the general public markets, itemizing shares on each the London and Dublin inventory exchanges at a value of €1.55 every, valuing the corporate at €1.14bn.

24 March: The EU ranges its first high quality towards Microsoft. The €497.2m antitrust penalty was the largest in European historical past on the time.

29 March: Ireland bans smoking in workplaces with a brand new public well being act.

14 April: Apple studies a 909pc improve in iPod gross sales in its quarterly outcomes.

11 May: IBM invests €22m in a brand new R&D facility in Dublin.

19 May: Ireland’s two major cell networks concurrently launch rival variations of the favored BlackBerry handset.

19 May: Intel commits to an extra €1.6bn funding in Leixlip.

25 May: Internet promoting revenues attain virtually $2.3bn for the primary quarter of 2004 – the very best three-month whole since information started eight years earlier than.

1 June: Irish cell phone operators launch a code of apply and steering for fogeys amid considerations of inappropriate content material being despatched in textual content and film messages.

21 June: The first privately funded human spaceflight takes place aboard the SpaceShipOne.

1 July: The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft enters Saturn’s orbit.

3 August: US networking expertise large Avaya acquires Dublin-based conferencing expertise agency Spectel for $103m.

4 August: An automated system for penalty factors – the primary of its sort in Europe – is deployed by An Garda Síochána throughout seven areas.

2 September: HP declares a €21.4m expertise improvement centre at its manufacturing facility in Leixlip.

4 October: Microsoft launches an Irish MSN portal, with native content material from RTÉ, Golden Pages and VHI.

8 November: The first Customer Respect Index claims Irish telcos have the world’s worst customer support.

13 November: The European Space Agency’s SMART-1 probe reaches the moon, turning into the primary European satellite tv for pc to orbit it.

23 November: Blizzard Entertainment drops the primary launch of World of Warcraft.

9 December: ComReg compels O2 and Vodafone, which share 94pc of the Irish post-paid cell market, to host cell digital community operators.

13 December: Oracle buys PeopleSoft for $10.3bn, placing an finish to one of many longest-running takeover battles in IT historical past.

15 December: Brian Salcedo receives the longest-ever jail sentence for hacking: 9 years for trying to interrupt into the unsecured wi-fi community of Lowe’s {hardware} chain.

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