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IT INDUSTRY NEWS - January 2012

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for January 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 Januarys …

Five years ago in January 2007 there was no talk of recession, and worker confidence was relatively high.  The big news was Microsoft’s launch of Vista and AOL’s $1 Billion purchase of Tradedoubler.

In January 2008, there was much talk about an impending recession.  Dell, Palm and Yahoo all announced layoffs, while Oracle paid $8.5 Billion for BEA, Microsoft paid $1.2 Billion for FAST and SUN paid $1 Billion for MySQL.

Three years ago in January 2009 it was a different story altogether as the world’s economies melted down! The one sizeable M&A deal was the $775 million purchase of Interwoven by Autonomy.  Confidence with IT workers and CEOs alike was at an all time low, and there was a long list of (significant) companies announcing layoffs.  Satyam announced a major financial accounting scam and former Canadian “tech star” Nortel, filed for bankruptcy protection.

In January Twenty-Ten there was cautious optimism in the air, but not much in the way of blockbuster M&A deals however Oracle, Apple, EMC, and Cisco continued their fairly steady acquisition pace.  Perhaps the most interesting acquisition saw PWC here in Canada return to the IT consulting business with the acquisition of Allstream’s non-telecom consulting business, several years after exiting the business by selling it to IBM.  In other news Apple released the much anticipated iPad.

Last year in January 2011 economic news was generally positive, Steve Jobs announced his leave of absence from Apple and Larry Page assumed the CEO role at Google.  There were also some big M&A deals, the largest being the $3.1 Billion acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm.  Verizon paid $1.4 Billion for Teremark Worldwide and IGate paid $1.2 Billion for Patni Computer Systems.  Also out spending money were Dell, Google, Cisco and

Which brings us back to the present …

January 2012 has been an exceptionally quiet M&A month.  I have probably been doing the industry news for more than 10 years now and I can’t remember a quieter month for acquisitions.  I can only speculate that the continuing economic upheavals in Europe and the US have put a damper on corporate confidence.  The most recent news however does point to more buoyant times so hopefully this is just a blip!  It was nice to see former tech giant JDSU back on the acquisition trail, even if just to pick up a small Vancouver based company, Dyaptive Systems.  Symantec paid $115 million for LiveOffice to help with its storage capabilities, Google bought a bunch more IBM patents, and Xerox picked up Laser Networks in the managed printing space.

While much of the EU struggles, Germany continues to be a powerhouse with record employment and good GDP growth.  Meanwhile there are some signs that things may be improving amongst the poorer performing EU members.  The US also had good employment numbers so hopefully all this good news will help the confidence in the markets.

Possibly the biggest news this month was the expected change at the top of RIM, and while a little skeptical that this move is too little too late, I am rooting for them to return to their former glory.  The only other news that received lots of press was the battle by the tech industry against the US SOPA regulations, which have been put on hold for now.

Clearly this was a month with not much activity, which is not a good sign.  Let’s hope that things pick up in February!  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 February 2012 industry news in just about a month’s time.