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IT INDUSTRY NEWS - February 2011

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for February 2011. 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. 

I think it’s interesting to look back and see what was news in previous years, and how it might affect news today. Perhaps one of the most noticeable things I see is that some of the most successful and largest companies have a track record of growth through acquisition, and with practice they get very good at it! 

Four years ago in February 2007 there was plenty of M&A action and the big news was the Oracle purchase of Hyperion for $3.3 Billion.   There was also some big layoffs with both Nortel (2,900 people) and Alcatel-Lucent (12,000) announcing layoffs in their ongoing attempts to fix their respective woes.   In February 2008 Nortel was still announcing layoffs, and the news centred around economic uncertainty.  Two years ago in February 2009 the news was once again all about layoffs and economic uncertainty.  Nortel, in addition to their layoffs sold their Alteon asset for less than $18 million, which they had bought for $7 billion nine years previously!  Last year in February 2010 M&A activity was slow with no huge buys.  Google bought Aardvark; Oracle purchased a couple of smaller entities; IBM bought a small network software company that focuses on the telco vertical; and Sybase bought a company that has a strong foothold in the financial services vertical.  There were lots of signs that the recovery was under way and Canada saw some job growth after a period of decline.

So here we are closing out February 2011, and once again it was a very quiet month for M&A … maybe this is a new tradition!  I can’t really explain it, other than the turmoil around the world in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain to name a few has negatively impacted the markets and certainly global entities are watching these events … and perhaps waiting on acquisitions.  Deals this month include HP buying Vertica; Opentext’s acquisition of Metastorm ($182 million); Rackspaces’s Anso Labs buy; plus a $15 million deal with Constant Contact buying Bantam … I told you it was a quiet month in M&A!

E&Y produced a report talking about 2010 suggesting the value of deals in the technology space last year was $119 Billion, a 26% increase from 2009.  Tesco promoted their CIO to become CEO of their $100 billion corporation, which doesn’t happen often, and on a sad note DEC co-founder Ken Olsen passed away at the age of 84, RIP.

In other news during February the internet in Egypt was blacked out by Egyptian authorities for almost a week, hackers (purportedly from China) broke into Canadian government systems and a couple of GLOBAL studies gave very positive indicators that the world’s economies are getting back on track.  Europe continues its recovery, with Germany setting the pace and even talking about skill shortages already (I expected that to come … but in a few months); and the US is spending $126 million on the next generation of supercomputers.

World news was dominated by the unrest in a growing number of countries, the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi’s Libyan supporters.  Let’s hope this time next month we will be talking about blockbuster deals in the technology space and growth in economies around the world.

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 March 2011 industry news in just about a month’s time. 

Walk Fast and Smile