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IT Industry News - December 2011


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

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers …

IT news in December can be slow. 

Five years ago in December 2006 an earthquake in Taiwan showed the vulnerability of the internet infrastructure, causing damage to 6 undersea cables and resulting in widespread service disruption in Asia.   AOL was trying to reinvent itself resulting in layoffs and management changes.  Sony BMG paid out big bucks for installing rootkits (spyware) on their CDs for copyright protection purposes and Cisco was tripling its workforce in India. The most significant acquisition of the month saw Alliance data systems pay about $500 million for Doubleclick’s Abacus unit. 

In December 2007 the big deal was in the gaming space with Warcraft maker Vivendi Games merging with Activision in a $9.85 Billion creation of a new gaming entity, there were a number of other deals but nothing huge. 

Three years ago In December 2008 the poor economy was the big news.  Sony, Yahoo, Adobe, Nokia and AT&T all announced layoffs.  Mass layoff numbers were up and various studies were cautious about hiring plans for 2009.  On the M&A front the biggest deal involved a couple of private equity companies buying a Danish IT company (KMD) for $375 million; Sierra Wireless paid $277 million for Wavecom; and Wipro paid $127 million for the IT arm of Citigroup. 

In December 2009 there were no big announcements … Microsoft had a couple of smaller (by their standards) acquisitions focused on different verticals, Opalis for the data centre business and Sentillion for the Health Care world.  Google made a small acquisition (AppJet) and IBM added database security vendor Guardium. 

Then last year in December 2010 there was probably more activity than previous Decembers.  Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one.  Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion.  J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku (can’t understand that one) for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm.

Which brings us back to the present …

December 2011saw some interesting activity, particularly if you follow the Canadian technology landscape.  Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped up by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by! 

 The BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion. 

It was however IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector. 

There was also an interesting investment in Twitter by a Saudi prince that values that company at around the $10 billion mark.

Around the world there continues to be angst in the various markets, with Europe and the US in particular continuing to struggle with their debt woes.  Having said that there were some surveys this month that suggest there will be some hiring in the first quarter … which is cause for optimism. 

Symantec reported that spam is hitting our email at the lowest level in three years, but suggest that we can expect more impact in our social media world in the future.  Tough to win with those guys!

So ends 2011, a year that was expected to bring economic recovery but failed to deliver.  Let’s hope 2012 is a better year for the world’s economies … Happy New Year!

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 January 2012 industry news in just about a month’s time.