IT Industry News
February 2015 saw some interesting activity. The $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia are two examples of sectors experiencing massive consolidation. There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying $4.75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company. There was a big data center play with UK-based Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings. Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise. Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay. Also out buying was Twitter which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators. There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space. Showing some forethought Australian job board OneShift has bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45. The US economy continues its recovery with almost every indicator being extremely positive. Confidence indicators, GDP, unemployment figures... all show an economy that is growing. So much so that the number one concern of businesses is now the talent shortage! Canada on the other hand is not so buoyant and continues to "go sideways", which is clearly not helped by the price of a barrel of oil these days, and Obama playing politics by vetoing the Keystone Project. In other news, supporters of net neutrality had a victory this month when the US Federal Communications Commission voted in their favor. Another Bitcoin exchange went bust, this time amidst rumors of some less than ethical practices. Gartner tells us that worldwide IT spending will increase, CareerBuilder tell us more people want to (need to?) work after retirement and the growth of smartphone sales keeps on rolling.
January 2015 in the technology business world was an interesting one, as we deal with dropping oil prices, changing currency rates and their affects, both good and bad on various industries. January did see some interesting M&A activity, a US economy that seems to just keep rebounding and a Canadian economy that seems to be slowing somewhat. There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying in January, including Amazon, Expedia, Samsung, Google and Dropbox. Other companies in the news included IBM, EMC, and Spacex.December 2014
December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of "the Sony hack" causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals. The Sony hack had lots of press, political intervention, hackers, politicians, movies stars and errant executive emails. It was almost a soap opera! Different hacking activity on the German Chancellor's phone last year (by an intelligence agency) might be good news for Blackberry, who received backing from the German government for voice encryption on their devices. IDC produced a report about the economic benefits of offshoring and there were a couple of reports showing the cost of cybercrime. On the M&A front it was surprisingly active, with Microsoft making two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey). SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal-based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger. All of the indicators coming from the US were very positive, including jobs data, confidence indicators and GDP results. The Canadian indicators were not as positive, although they could certainly have been worse. Of course all of these indicators happened before oil dropped below $50, so we will see what effect that has in the coming months!November 2014
The biggest deal of November saw two semiconductor companies merge, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion to form a $4 billion company. There were also deals by Carlyle Group, Yahoo, and BT. In the economy, Canada added 43,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.5%, plus one study suggests that IT spending will increase by 3.3% to greater than $1 billion. On another positive note, Ontario might benefit from investment by Chinese company Huawei Technologies to the tune of 325 jobs. Finally a study in the UK suggests that many (mostly low paying) jobs will be replaced by automation over the next 20 years.October 2014
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
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.