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October IT Industry News

Every month I take a 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry. This is my overview of September’s news, with a brief reminder of what was news in September the last couple of years! What you see here is a precis of the monthly report I produce, which will is available in more detail at the Eagle website. You will also find back issues on the website.

Two years ago in October 2006there were no “blockbuster” M&A deals, although Oracle did pay $440 Million for Stellent and EMC paid $165 Million for Avamar. At that time worker confidence was good, unemployment rates in Canada and the US were low and IT spending was relatively strong. Last year in October 2007Microsoft valued Facebook at $15 billion when it took a minority stake for $204 million, SAP paid $6.8 billion for Business Objects and Nokia paid $8 billion for Navteq, a mapping software company. Last year IT workers were happier and more secure than ever and in what may have been premonition CEO confidence was slipping. Canadian company Nex Innovations closed its doors and a Royalty Review caused consternation for Canada’s oil patch.

For October 2008the big news continues to be the meltdown in the financial markets and talk of gloom, doom, recessions and depressions! Even Gartner became harbingers of the gloom telling conference attendees to get ready for hiring freezes and layoffs. A Cisco security survey confirmed what we all know … most users are not very security conscious (go figure)! The number one worry for IT professionals seems to be increasing work loads, the number of IT jobs in the US dropped by 2% quarter over quarter and Symantec, eBay and Yahoo all announced significant layoffs. Intel is investing big time into China and IBM continues to grow and prosper in India.

On the M&A front a $5.8 billion merger of Telcosin the US was the big deal of the month, with rural telephone company Century Tel buying its bigger peer Embarq. Ebay, despite announced layoff, had some big purchases Bill Me Later ($945 million) plus Denmark companies Ben Bla Avis and Bil Basen ($390 million). Symantec paid $695 million for Message Labs, Tata paid $505 million for Citi’s Indian BPO arm and HP paid $360 million for Left Hand Networks. Other interesting plays saw Oracle make a couple of buys Primaveraand Advanced Visual Technology, and finally Novell bought Managed Objects.

Given the intense focus on the “doom and gloom” I can only comment on what I am seeing, and here in Canada Eagle is coming off two of its best months in a long time! There is ongoing M&A activity and the world has not yet come to an end! It might be the calm before the storm, and there have certainly been some impacts … but we are not seeing widespread cuts. Keep your fingers crossed … and don’t listen to the naysayers!

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition is available by going to the appropriate part of Eagle’s website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with October’s news in just about a month’s time.