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IT Industry News for April 2010

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for April 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.

In April 2007Google had a busy month, paying a whopping $3.1 Billion for Doubleclick, in addition to buying Marratech’s videoconferencing software; other big deals included CSC paying $1.3 Billion for Covansys; Mitel paid $732 million for Inter-tel, Software AG paid $546 million for web Methods and Business objects bought Cartesis for about $300 million.

The big M&A deal in April 2008saw a merger of the third and fourth largest chip makers STMicroelectronics and NXP into a $3 Billion company. IBM was busy, making three smaller acquisitions this month Diligent, FilesX and InfoDyne; Yahoo bought Tensa Kft. Despite the attentions of Microsoft; and speaking of Microsoft they had a couple of acquisitions Farecast and Komoku; EMC also had a couple of forays into the M&A market with Iomega and Conchango plc.

Last year in April 2009other than the recession, the news for the month in the technology world was Oracle’s $7.4 Billion purchase of Sun and thus entry into the hardware business! This was not the only big deal with EBay offering $1.2 billion for Gmarket (a Korean EBay), Harris Corp paying $675 million for Tyco Electronic’s wireless division and perhaps an end to Satyam’s immediate problems with a $422 million purchase by Tech Mahindra. There were also a couple of significant deals in my town of Ottawa . private equity firm Thoma Bravo snapped up Entrust for $110 million and Trend Micro bought Third brigade.

Here we are talking about April 2010and lots of positive signs that the recession is behind us, but a fairly consistent message that the recovery is slow. My own industry’s Staffing Index for March suggests that the Canadian Staffing Industry is recovering but is still only half way back to where it was pre-recession. IDC Canada is telling us that the compound growth rate in IT spending over the next 5 years will be in the 4% range … which I find hard to believe given the competitive pressures industrial nations will be facing during that time, but what do I know!

The big and somewhat surprising M&A deal of the month was HP’s $1.2 Billion purchase of Palm, which will be interesting to watch. Twitter bought a couple of companies, Cloudhopper and Atebits. Symentec also bought a couple of companies (PGP ($300 Million) and GuardianEdge ($70 Million). Oracle paid $685 Million for Phase Forward, Juniper paid about $100 Million for Ankeena Networks and Salesforce bought Jigsaw for $142 Million. Google and Apple were also out shopping this month!

Unemployment in Canada hovers in and around the 8.2% range, the US is about 9.7%, the EU at 10% … but Spain actually exceeded a million people out of work! As the economy starts to recover an Adecco study suggests that there are a lot of people looking to change jobs . which is fairly typical following a period when change was a little risky!

It was also sad to see a couple of pioneers pass away this month, renowned consultant and author CK Pralahad and the inventor of the first real PC, Ed Roberts both died in April.

The pace of activity everywhere seems to be picking up, M&A activity, client activity, hiring and spending. It must be Spring with such optimism in the air … let’s hope May continues the theme.

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