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

A Little History of previous year's Februarys ...

Five 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. Three 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! 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. February 2011 was another quiet month for M&A with HP buying Vertica; Opentext bought Metastorm ($182 million); and Rackspace acquired Anso Labs. World news was dominated by the popular uprisings in a growing number of countries and the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi's Libyan supporters.

Which brings us back to the present ...

February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting activity. The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo. Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company and there were a number of deals featuring some big name acquirers. IBM bought Worklight in a move targeted at the burgeoning "Bring Your Own Device" to work arena; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought Chomp, whose product is a search engine for mobile apps; and LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks. On a smaller scale Ceridian bought Toronto based workforce management company Dayforce Corp, and my old boss Alan Rottenberg seems to be in the middle of that one! There was an interesting report from an Indian trade group suggesting that Indian IT and BPO outsourcing has broken the $100 billion barrier. Nokia also announced it will be moving more manufacturing to Asia at the expense of 4,000 employees in Europe and Mexico.

For the first time in a while Android phones lost market share, largely because the iPhone 4S was released. The big loser continues to be RIM, whose global smart phone market share fell to 8% from 14% a year ago. Economies around the world continue to adjust to the new realities, Germany has a record number of people employed yet Spain is facing record unemployment, and the UK is set to beat a 17 year low with currently 2.68 million unemployed. There were a number of positive indicators out of the US, including employment, GDP and confidence indicators. That's what caught my eye over the last month.