IT Industry News
October 2014 brought a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities. HP created business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc. Symantec is also choosing to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio. Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 billion for GlobalFoundries to take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business. NEST bought out competitor Revolv, just to eliminate competition; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity. In other news, Panasonic is teamed with Tesla on the development of new battery technology; Microsoft continued with its planned layoffs, shedding another 3,000 jobs this month; and the Canadian Federal Government reported that there were 228 data breaches in the last year, twice as many as reported the previous year. JP Morgan revealed that they lost personal information on 83 million accounts in the same month that a British survey revealed that more than half the people in Britain have been the victim of online crime! Surveys and economic data in North America suggest that generally things are going well, good GDP results, decent employment reports and fairly positive sentiments in surveys would suggest that something is going right. Overall the US results seemed more positive than the Canadian results, but the general tone was good.
September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft's $2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Mojang (makers of Minecraft), Lenovo's $2.1 billion purchase of IBM's x86 server business and Cognizant's $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp. Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit. Google also made two acquisitions: biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo's $8 million purchase of cloud-based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco's purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP's purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry's purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu; and Red Hat's purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry. Other than M&A news, the Canadian government seem to be heading down a harsh path with HP based on activity in Russia by an HP subsidiary. Larry Ellison has passed his CEO of Oracle role along to dual CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd; hopefully they fare better than Blackberry's former co-CEOs. The "always connected" PC seems to be on its way, which could prove handy for many situations. US economic news, studies, surveys and reports all seem to be positive which is good news for that economy. Canada is a little more mixed with an 11,000 drop in jobs in August; however, upcoming job prospects seem to look good according to some surveys.August 2014
August 2014 saw some generally positive news from the various surveys and statistics reported. Statistics Canada had an uncharacteristic hiccup but finally reported a drop in the unemployment rate and an increase in jobs. In the US, almost all indicators were positive, including reasonable GDP growth, improved unemployment rate and hiring outlooks. The Eurozone also showed improvement in its unemployment figures with the UK hitting a six year low last quarter. Getting some negative press were a couple of big names, Cisco announced it was cutting 6,000 jobs (of which 2,000 would be rehired in different positions) and Oracle was sued by the State of Oregon over its health insurance portal. On the M&A front there were no blockbuster deals this month; however, a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books. Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; VMware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud-based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messagingcaabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari. It appears that the big companies keep getting bigger, which is the way that the business world works!July 2014
July 2014 had plenty of positive news including positive growth in PC sales after eight years of decline!. In Canada, the manufacturer's index, retail sales and projected IT hiring were all good news stories; however, the unemployment rate edged up and Canada lost 9,400 jobs in June. Most indicators coming out of the US were positive, including strong GDP growth, job growth, confidence indicators (except CEOs) and the US leading index. There was even a positive economic outlook for Mexico... so lots of good news. On the M&A front there was a lot of activity but no real blockbuster deals. After a long period of struggle, a positive sign saw Blackberry announce an acquisition of encryption company Secusmart GmbH. Oracle bought cloud services company TOA Technologies; Twitter bought a startup Madbits, a company that focuses on the media space; Yahoo also bought a startup Flurry in the mobile apps space; Teradata bought a couple of smaller big data companies, Hadapt and Revelytix; Apple bought a couple of smaller books & podcast companies Booklamp and Concept.io; Qualcomm education company EmpoweredU; and finally Nokia continue to rebuild after selling its devices and handsets business to Microsoft, this time buying Panasonic's 3G and LTE base station operations division. Speaking of Microsoft buying Nokia's devices and handset division, the company announced that they would be laying off 18,000 people related to that deal. July also saw a fairly interesting partnership, with IBM and Apple combining to offer enterprise solutions... who knows maybe we'll see Google and Amazon collaborating next?June 2014
June 2014 saw a number of positive survey results showing increased hiring intentions and improved confidence, most especially in the US, but also there were positive signs in Europe. The UK in particular seemed to demonstrate a "broad based economic recovery" and generally employment in the Eurozone improved. Canada, however, continues to limp along with unemployment rising again to 7% and even one report suggesting we have experienced a slight contraction in 2014 thus far. There were some significant deals announced in June with Oracle's $5 billion purchase of Micros Systems, in its pursuit of the cloud space, the largest this month. Sandisk was next with its $1.1 billion purchase of solid state storage company Fusion-io. Google continues its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud-based home monitoring service Dropcam. Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging a satellite maker that will enhance the Google Maps capability. Yahoo is said to be positioning to compete with Youtube, through a proposed $250 million offer for Fullscreen. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing platform Tap Commerce and Red Hat is paying $70 million for eNovance.May 2014
May 2014 was a month with plenty of positive news in the US, Japan and in the UK, but here in Canada the economy remains lukewarm and even disappointing. The one bright news item was the impact of Canada's angel investor community in 2013, which invested almost $90 million into startups; however, the unemployment rate is at 6.9% and we lost 29,000 jobs in April. US employment seems to be rising quickly with the possibility of "full employment" in 2015 and several indices came out with very positive news. Japan's unemployment rate was 3.6% with 108 jobs for every 100 people unemployed. In other news, the fallout from Target's security breach that cost CIO Beth Jacobs her job has now taken down CEO Gregg Steinhael too. It will be interesting to see what happens at eBay who announced a breach that had happened weeks ago! HP is adding to its layoff news by somewhere between 11,000 and 16,000 additional lost jobs and SAP had good news/bad news announcing 1,500 layoffs but probably 3,000 new jobs to be filled. On the acquisition front, the big dollar number was AT&T's $50 billion acquisition of DirectTV, but perhaps there is more buzz with rapper Dr. Dre being a happy camper because Apple are paying $3 billion for Beats! Google continues to invest in its Android strategy, this time with a strategy company Divide, that will bring help breaking into the enterprise. Other acquisitions saw Seagate pay $450 million for some flash capability from Avago (the LSI divisions); GE bought cyber security firm Wurdtech; EMC bought a flash (see the trend) start-up DSSD; Time Warner is buying YouTube video network FullScreen; and SAP is buying behavioral target marketing company SeeWhy.