This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for April 2016. 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.
A Little History of April in previous years …
Five years ago in April 2011 Texas Instruments bought National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, Level 3 Communications paid $3 Billion for Global Crossing, Lawson Software was sold for $2 Billion to GGC Software Holdings (an Infor company) and Seagate bought the hard disk drive operations of Samsung. In April 2012 Facebook made a $1 billion bid for Instagram, Facebook also bought a piece of the patent action from Microsoft after Microsoft had paid AOL more than $1 billion for the patents. DELL made three acquisitions this month, Wyse technology, Clerity Solutions and Make Technologies. IBM picked up Toronto based BI company Varicent Software; Intel paid $140 million for some assets from Cray; Citrix picked up Podio; and Twitter bought a startup to acquire its team of developers. Three years ago in April 2013 Rogers paid $200 million for Primus’s Blackiron subsidiary, including datacenter capability; Toronto based Softchoice also chose to go private in a $412 million private equity deal; Shaw paid $225 million for an Enmax fibre network subsidiary in Calgary; Best Buy sold its stake in Carphone Warehouse for $775 million (having paid $2.1 billion in 2008). Google paid $30 million for social company Wavii. Other big names on the acquisition trail this month include Intel (Mashery), IBM (Urbancode); Computer Associates (Nolio). Finally Facebook had a couple of small acquisitions Osmeta and Parse. April 2014 saw Microsoft officially entered the handset business with the completion of the $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business. Zebra Technologies paid $3.5 billion for Motorola’s unit that makes mobile devices for business which is a move in the ever expanding Internet of Things space. Apple paid $479 million purchase of the LCD chip development unit of Renesas Electronics. IBM snapped up marketing automation software company Silverpop Systems and open source software company Red Hat paid $175 million for storage company Inktank. Last year in April 2015 there was plenty of action. Nokia was the biggest story, paying $16.5 Billion for telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, but there was also a $4Billion deal that saw Capgemini buy services firm IGATE and LinkedIn made its largest acquisition ever, paying $1.5 Billion for training portal Lynda.com. LinkedIn also bought a predictive insights startup company, Refresh. Netsuite paid $200 million for ERP and commerce software company Bronto Software and Blackberry reputedly shelled out $150 million for file sharing security company Watchdox. Salesforce was also out shopping, picking up mobile two-factor authentication startup, Toopher. In another deal involving billions, Informatica decided to follow in DELL’s footsteps and go private for a $5.3 Billion price tag.
Which brings us back to the present …
April 2016 saw some big deals, the biggest was Bell’s $3.8 billion bid for Manitoba Telephone System, which if approved will change the Canadian telco landscape a little. Other large deal saw a Chinese conglomerate bid $3.6 billion for Lexmark; and Mitel shell out $2 billion for Polycom. Oracle paid $663 million for cloud based construction software company Textura. Nokia, who were also in the news announcing layoffs and continued to evolve their business model, this time into the wearable tech arena with the $192 million purchase of Withings. Other deals saw Autodesk acquire 3D animation software company Solid Angle; and Dimension Data bought Toronto based cloud services company Ceryx.
There were some interesting reports about growth in the emerging markets for robotics and Internet of things security while there is also a projected decline in general IT spending for 2016. This quarter also saw the first decline in smartphone sales as that market reaches saturation however China is expected to grow its technology spend this year.
The US managed to add another 215,000 jobs in March and almost every indicator was positive. Canada also grew its employment by 40,000 jobs but the economic situation is not as rosy as we see South of the border.
That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years. I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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