November 30th, 2010
This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2010. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.
I think its interesting to look back and see what was news in previous years, and how it might affect news today. Perhaps one of the most noticeable things I see is that some of the most successful and largest companies have a track record of growth through acquisition, and with practice they get very good at it!
Three years ago in November 2007 the big news was IBM’s $5 Billion purchase of Cognos. There was a fair bit of M&A activity, with AOL being very active, Telus buying Emergis, Randstad buying Vedior to create the second largest staffing company in the world and DELL making a couple of acquisitions. Two years ago in November 2008 the big news was the economic maelstrom that took the world by storm. There was some M&A activity with AT&T paying $944 Million for Centenial Communications and Fujitsu paid $575 Million to buy out Siemens from a joint venture but the biggest “noise” was about layoffs and the general impact of the recession. Last year in November 2009 there was still a “hangover” from the recession, but the general mood was more optimistic. There were still layoff announcements, Adobe (680), Microsoft (800), and Rogers (900) all announced layoffs and Right Management told us that as many as 80% of employees may look to change job as the economy recovers! Employment figures were not good but GDP projections for the US and Europe were positive. The big news in M&A saw HP buying 3-Com for $2.7 Billion and Nortel continued to sell off its assets, this time its Metro Ethernet Networks business to Cienna for $769 Million. Google also made a couple of acquisitions, including paying $750 million for AdMob.
That brings us to November Twenty-Ten and while there is still considerable financial pain around the world in places like Ireland and Greece, the recovery continues and some countries are doing particularly well. There was plenty of good news this month, in and amongst all that “global chatter”. In Canada we added jobs and the unemployment rate improved a little to 7.9%, as opposed to a blended EU unemployment rate of 10.1% and a US unemployment rate of 9.6%. The US also gained jobs and there were several positive reports about prospects for growth and continued recovery … including a global snapshot looking at jobs for professionals and managers; a Canadian IT hiring trends study from IBM and Sapphire; and a positive outlook from the Global Purchasing Managers Outlook.
In other news the Chinese were in the press for a couple for reasons … they now have the world’s fastest supercomputer, plus they hijacked the internet for 18 minutes, causing great consternation in US security circles! Facebook continues its march of dominance and apparently accounts for a quarter of all page views and 10% of all internet visits (Hi Mom!)!
Some companies in the news include Verizon that agreed to pay back $52.8 million to subscribers who had been overcharged … plus a $25 million payment to the US Treasury. Dell moved off the blackberry in what could be an uncomfortable time for RIM, especially when coupled with the growth in Android phones … taking market share from all other suppliers. Yet the biggest news was likely the $1.3 Billion judgement against SAP for piracy of Oracle software … through its subsidiary TomorrowNow.
On the M&A front it seemed to me to be a quiet month looking back BUT actually there were some BIG deals. That perennial acquirer EMC paid $2.25 billion for Isilion; Attachmate (I thought that was a tool company) bought Novell for $2.2 Billion; Oracle paid $1 Billion for Art Technology Group; and apparently Japanese company NTT paid $1 Billion for Keane. In the “below $1 Billion camp”, Amazon paid $500 million for Quidsi; ABRY Partners paid $84 million for Comforce; Juniper Networks bought Trapeze Networks for $152 million and there were a few smaller deals too.
Overall November seems to have been quite an interesting month … and with all the positive reports that keep coming I don’t understand why the negative “stuff” is so prevalent. Keep positive, walk fast and smile! That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the December 2010 industry news in just about a month’s time.
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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