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Eikon upgrade rolls out in bid to win back market share

In an attempt to win back lost market share, Thomson Reuters has begun rolling out a big upgrade to Eikon, the flagship data and trading platform that struggled at its 2010 launch.

The revamped system, designed to be simpler and more intuitive, represents a significant overhaul of earlier versions of Eikon, whose speed and performance disappointed investors and banks, the Financial Times reported. It includes new tools such as predictive word search, meaning users no longer have to remember complicated codes, and interactive maps that track the impact of weather and natural disasters on the production and shipping of commodities. The screen has a dark background for easier reading, just like that of its rival Bloomberg.

More than 3,000 Eikon customers have downloaded the update, which was released on Monday without fanfare. There were about 33,000 paying Eikon users by the end of December, up from 25,600 at the end of September. That uptick continued a trend seen throughout 2012, the FT said.

Sales of Eikon, built as part of a $1 billion investment across the finance division, were aimed at foreign exchange, commodities, energy and fixed-income customers, but have fallen short of expectations as Thomson Reuters lost market share to Bloomberg.

Financial markets customers, hit by declining profitability and falling trading volumes, have been cutting their spending on data and other technology. Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk division, within which Eikon sits, reported a 10 per cent decline in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the nine months to last September.

“The group is cutting costs, laying off hundreds of staff across its operations, including in editorial,” the FT said. “It has declined to comment on reports that as many as 3,000 of its 60,000 jobs could go, but one person familiar with the plan said fewer than 1,000 people would be affected.”

It is also disposing of unwanted assets, such as the investor relations businesses it sold to Nasdaq OMX for $390 million last month.

Launch of the upgrade was led by Phillip Brittan, who helped develop Google Finance and was brought in by Thomson Reuters 18 months ago as head of Eikon. ■

Financial Times