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IT Industry News - July 2012

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for July 2012. 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 July in previous years …

In July 2007 HP paid $1.6B to buy Opsware, Steria paid $1B for Xansa, IBM paid $160M for BI company Datamirror and Google paid $625M for Postini.  Four years ago in July 2008 the big deal was the purchase of Foundry Networks by Brocade Communications for $3B but we were on the brink of what would be one of the worst economic periods in a long time.  In July 2009 the economy was suffering and unemployment was high.  There was however some brisk activity on the M&A front with Ericsson paying $1.1 Billion in a fire sale auction for Nortel’s wireless carrier assets.  That was not the biggest deal of the month however as EMC agreed to pay $2.4 billion for Data Domain AND IBM paid $1.2 Billion to add to its BI capability with the acquisition of SPSS.  Two years ago in July 2010, the iPhone 4 sparked the “antennagate” debate and Spain won the World Cup, the economy was recovering and it was a fairly busy month in M&A.  NTT paid $3.2 Billion for Dimension Data and Nokia Siemens paid $1.2 Billion for Motorola’s wireless network equipment unit. IBM bought data compression company Storwize and in the same space Dell bought Ocarina Networks. EMC bought data analytics company Greenplum, Google added to its semantic search capability with the purchase of Metaweb Technologies,  Adobe paid $240 Million for a Swiss web software maker, Day Software Holdings and SAS increased its presence in the US Federal market through its purchase of Vision Systems and Technology.  A year ago July 2011 saw continued economic concerns in Europe and a game of political chicken in the US over the US debt ceiling, meanwhile M&A news was relatively low key in the pure tech world.  However Adeccos’ purchase of Drake Beam Morin, and Randstad’s purchase of SFN Group (Spherion, Technisource, Mergis Group, Tatum, Sourceright & Todays’ Office Professionals) were significant moves in the world of staffing … which affects us all.  Dell’s move into networking with the purchase of Force10 is possible the most significant tech deal, with Google (Punchd), Twitter (Backtype) and Adobe (EchoSign) all picking up smaller players to help move their agenda.

Which brings us back to the present …

July 2012 and the world’s economies continue to be a cause for concern, and unemployment numbers are reflective of that.  Canada is in a better position than most, but June was the second month of tepid growth in employment, and while the unemployment rate dropped marginally to 7.2%, that drop was driven by less people looking for work … perhaps enjoying the hot summer?  In the US there were a couple of surveys (CEO and employees) that showed decreased optimism, however the Conference Board indicated that the US economy is growing, albeit very slowly.

Some headline makers in July include the new CEO of Yahoo, who also happens to be pregnant.  Coming from Google, Marissa Mayer joins a fairly exclusive group of female CEOs of companies of Yahoos stature … and perhaps a sign of our changing times, probably the only one hired when pregnant.  General Motors announced that it will be reversing its former “outsourcing philosophy” which could be bad news for a number of big high tech firms.  Samsung reputedly outsold Apple two to one, in smartphone sales for the quarter, and Alcatel-Lucent announced a significant layoff.

On the M&A front Dell bought Quest Software for $2.4 billion, Apple picked up Authentec for $356 million and Socialcam acquired Autodesk for $60 million.  Oracle was on a roll, buying the assets of Skire (capital assets and facilities management software), Involver (a social marketing tools company) and Xsigo Systems (Network Virtualisation).  Vmware was also busy, picking up  Dynamic Ops (virtualisation software) and Nicira (a start-up in the networking software space).  One interesting deal saw Digg bought for $500,000 by Betaworks, when Digg had been valued at $200 million just four years ago.

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

Walk Fast and Smile.