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IT Industry News - March 2011

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 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 March 2007 Cisco was “on a tear” announcing 3 acquisitions, including the $3.3 Billion purchase of WebEx, plus 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.  Two years ago in March 2009 we 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. March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery.  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.  Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable purchase was Avnet’s $340 million buy, Bell Microproducts.

March 2011 is dominated by world events, notably the news of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  In addition UN involvement in Libya and general unrest in the Middle East has been a daily story.

Here in Canada the ICTC warn of looming skills shortages in the technology space … no surprise for those of us in the staffing business but in some ways it’s good for now, because it means low unemployment for skilled workers.  Canada’s GDP also exhibited growth this year that exceeded the shrinkage of last year, another good indicator of Canada’s strong economic performance.

Around the world the economic recovery is generally proceeding well, with good worldwide news coming via JPMorgan’s PMI and KPMG’s Pulse reports … both very positive.  At the greater EU level things look very positive with some very strong performance by countries like Germany, however the UK, Ireland and Greece continue to struggle in their recovery.  There was also better news out the the US with employment improving and growth in the US GDP.

In the technology world the big event of the month has be AT&T’s announcement of a $39 Billion deal to buy T-Mobile.  While there were no other mega-deals of this nature it was a fairly busy month in the M&A world.  There were some big name companies out adding to their capabilities … Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by for about $276 million; Facbook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million for Next New Networks;  McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics start up Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space;  and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  Lots of activity in that mobile space!

In other news Microsoft scored one for the good guys, taking down the Rustock botnet and thus reducing spam in our in-boxes!   IBM coughed up $10 million to settle charges of bribery brought by the SEC.  Another senior tech executive (Rajiv Goel from Intel) was named in the ongoing hedge fund insider trading case involving Raj Rajaratnam.  Last mention for this month goes to the University of York which has egg on its face after inadvertently sharing private data on 17,000 of its students … it seems this happens all too often!

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.