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March 2010 IT Industry News

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2010. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which is available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

Three years ago, in March 2007Cisco was “on a tear” announcing 3 acquisitions, including the $3.3 Billion purchase of WebEx and Microsoft paid about $800 Million for Tellme networks. In March 2008 Microsoft announced three separate deals (one reputedly in the $100Million range); the biggest deal of the month was AOL’s $850 Million purchase of social networking company Bebo; Acer paid $290 Million for E-Ten and Synopsis paid $227 Million for another semiconductor company Synplicity. Last year in March 2009we continued to suffer through tough economic times and record unemployment. Google was in the news for creating a $100 Million venture fund. There was not a ton of actual M&A activity in March 2009 but Bell Canada surprised, picking up “the Source” and the break-up of BearingPoint, post Chapter 11, benefited Deloitte and PwC amongst others around the world.

This year in March 2010we are still in recovery mode … but headed in the right direction. It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA’s pursuit of the “cloud computing” world providing some activity with its two purchases, 3Tera for reputedly about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million. This would make it five acquisitions in the last ten months for CA’s Cloud business unit. Chordiant software fell victim to the recession and was picked up by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable purchase was Avnet’s $340 million buy, Bell Microproducts. The Albany group suffered financial issues, (a thorny issue in the staffing world, when the VMS suppliers run into financial difficulty) and their managed services group was picked up by Allegis.

I included some reports out of Europe by way of comparison in this month’s industry news, and certainly there are country’s still suffering far worse than Canada. Spain for example is looking at a 20% unemployment rate, while Canada’s is about 8.2%, and Sweden (one of the best places to live in the World) is around 9.3%. The new Canadian Staffing Index highlights the long slow recovery, beginning in June 2009 with labour demand increasing slowly, but accelerating as we speak. Worldwide executive search revenue fell 32% in 2009, but that seems to be a norm in staffing however the fourth quarter numbers suggest demand is picking up.

So the mood remains optimistic, demand is picking up and the recovery seems to be gaining momentum … I will hope to be writing about HUGE increases in the positive indicators in next month’s Industry News.

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 April 2010 industry news in just about a month’s time.