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IT Industry News March 2013

This is a little earlier than normal … I head out on vacation this evening and will be gone for a little more than a week.  Enjoy the break!

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2013. 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 March in previous years …

Five years ago, in March 2008 Microsoft announced three separate deals (one reputedly in the $100Million range); the biggest deal of the month was AOL’s $850 Million purchase of social networking company Bebo; Acer paid $290 Million for E-Ten and Synopsis paid $227 Million for another semiconductor company Synplicity.  In March 2009 Google was in the news for creating a $100 Million venture fund. Bell Canada bought “the Source” and the break-up of BearingPoint, post Chapter 11, benefited Deloitte and PwC amongst others around the world. March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery.  It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA’s pursuit of the “cloud computing” world providing some activity with its two purchases, 3Tera for about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million.  Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable purchase was Avnet’s $340 million buy, Bell Microproducts.   Two years ago in March 2011 world events included Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  The big technology event of the month was AT&T’s announcement of a $39 Billion deal to buy T-Mobile … which later failed costing AT&T a reputed $4 billion.  While there were no other mega-deals of this nature it was a fairly busy month in the M&A world.  Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by for about $276 milion; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 milion for Next New Networks;  McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space;  and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  In March 2012 there was some activity with a couple of young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a wopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess.  NEC paid $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya paid $230 million for an Israeli videoconferenceing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company.  Finally, SAIC agreed to pay close to a half billion dollars to the City of New York related to charges it overbilled and paid kickbacks!

Which brings us back to the present …

March 2013 continued a trend for the first quarter of 2013 with a fairly lackluster M&A market.  Some of the usual characters were making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced.  Oracle continued its move into the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto Uiversity based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold a division to Facebook … Atlas Advertiser Suite will assist Facebook clients in managing marketing campaigns; Yahoo made its 5thsmall acquisition, this one Summly, was founded by a 15 year old two years ago (he was born after Yahoo was started).  There were a couple more smaller deals but it was interesting to see both the Ontario Provincial government and the Canadian federal government getting more active in funding startups!

Outside of the M&A activity, both IDC and Gartner are predicting growth in the IT markets for 2013 … somewhere between 4% and 6%.  There were also a number of indicators that the economy is improving, added jobs in both Canada and the US, there were several positive confidence indices, some increase in small business employment and a continued increase in US tech jobs.  Microsoft ran into some difficulties in the EU, having to pay a $732 million antitrust fine related to Internet Explorer.  Final word goes to Evernote who suffered a security breach affecting 50 million users.

That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back at the end of April, until then … walk fast and smile!