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IT Industry News - August 2011

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

This month in previous years… in August 2007Acer paid $700M for Gateway and Wipro bought US company Infocrossing for $600M.  Hackers were in the news having scooped 1.6 million records from Monster and a study suggested hacking attempts on banks were up 80%.  Two years ago in August 2008 Ricoh paid $1.6B for Ikon Office Solutions, Bae (UK) bid $1B for Detica Group (UK), and Compucom bought Getronics (former Wang) to form a $2.1B company.  Hard on their heels was a big move by Indian outsourcing company Infosys, paying $750M plus for Axon group in the UK.  A biggish one for Canada was the private equity buy of Q9 networks for $360M by CDC.  Two years ago in August 2009, the unemployment news was still bleak and there were some household names making acquisitions, but no huge deals.  Facebook bought Friendfind and Myspace bought iLike.  Google enhanced its video capability with the purchase on On2 Technologies; Rim bought a mobile browser company Torch Mobile; and Fluke Networks improved its wireless capability with the purchase of Airmagnet.  CSC grew its Brazilian operation through the purchase of bankrupt Bearingpoint’s local operations.  Last year in August 2010 was another good month on the recovery front and a busy month for acquisitions.  Google made five acquisitions … Socialdeck, Angstro, Slide, Jambool and, but Intel spent the most money … paying $7.7 billion for McAfee AND $1.4 billion for Infinion Technology’s wireless division!  IBM bought Datacap and Unica Corp; HP bought Fortify Software and Stratavia; 3M paid $900 million for Cogent; CA paid $200 million for Arcot Systems; and Rim, Cisco, Citrix and Nokia were all out shopping too!  In addition to their two acquisitions HP lost CEO Mark Hurd to a scandal.

All of which brings us to August 2011and in addition to Hurricane Irene hitting the US coast, there was a mini-market crash and the world continues to lack confidence in the economy.  A look at the various indicators across Canada, the US and the EU would suggest that August was perhaps a tough month on a seemingly never ending journey to recovery.  The biggest industry news this month could have been the $12.5 Billion purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google but arguably the announcement that Steve Jobs is stepping down from Apple seemed to get more coverage.

Other than the Google/Motorola deal it wasn’t a busy acquisitions month, IBM paid $387 million to add Algorithmics to its analytics portfolio, and they added another analytics company this month too, i2 out of the UK.  Skype which is in the process of being merged into Microsoft, bought GroupMe, Bitly bought Twitterfeed, Citrix bought Ringcube and Cisco is buying a piece of Comptel.

In other news this month was a disturbing story about a multi-year hacking project known as Operation Shady Rat which has been gathering sensitive, even top secret information since 2006.  A group of IT workers launched a class action suit in the US because their employer replaced them with cheaper workers under the H1B program … should be an interesting one to watch.

Overall it was a fairly quiet month for business, with lots of decision makers taking vacation and the unsettled economy making buyers a little nervous.  A little stability and good news is needed now to ensure September gets back on track … and our investments get a chance to recover from this latest “crash”.

Until next month, Walk Fast and Smile!

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