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I have been compiling the monthly Technology Industry News for more than 17 years, when I first started Eagle. This year, for the first time, I put together a "year in review" of those monthly highlights. I found it interesting to be reminded about some of the events of the year, I hope you find it interesting too!
There were a few companies that received more press than most in 2013 and in January, one of them, Research in Motion made a couple of big announcements ... their "game changing" release of their next generation PDA and a name change to Blackberry. We know how their year went from then, quarterly losses, big layoffs, a change in CEO, a clearing out at the executive level, a failed attempt to go private and the jury is still out on where things will go in 2014!
Another company that you would have seen quite regularly in the monthly industry news was Oracle. In February they splashed $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet, In March they bought Tekelec in the telco space; in October they made two acquisitions Big Machines and Compendium, both "cloud based" companies; and they closed out the year with a $1.5 billion deal to buy Responsys. They are a model for the reality that the big get bigger!
Cisco is another big company that was in the news, but not just for acquisitions. Cisco made its first buy of 2013 in January, $475 million for mobile network software company Intucell; in June they paid $180 million for Composite Software; July saw a big buy at $2.7 billion for security vendor Sourcefire; then in August Cisco took some heat for announcing record profits while laying off 4,000 people!
IBM was another newsmaker in 2013, starting with the acquisition of cloud company Softlayer Technologies in June; in August they reputedly paid $1 billion for cybersecurity company Trusteer; in September IBM announced $1 billion investment in its Linux business and in December the company bought big data file compression company Aspera.
There was a relatively new phenomena of companies going private in 2013, with Dell leading the way. Dell announced their plans in February and after a tough shareholder battle managed to complete the $25 billion deal in October; in April, on a much smaller scale Softchoice went private in a $412 million deal; and in May BMC software went private in a $6.9 billion deal.
It was another tough year for HP with a shareholder suit as a result of the acquisition of Autonomy and the subsequent $8 billion write-down. In September HP was dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
There were a number of big "data breaches" in 2013, starting in January when the Canadian government (HRSDC) lost a portable drive with 585,000 personal records; Anonymous released personal details of 4,000 American bank executives in February; Evernote had a breach that affected 50 million users in March; the Canadian Privacy Commissioner reported that data breaches are on the rise in October; and Target had a security breach involving 40 million debit and credit cards in December ... be careful with your data, and check your accounts regularly!
Unemployment in Canada improved slightly over the year, starting in January at 7.1% and ending at 6.9%; we saw a "storm in a teapot" over some temporary foreign workers at RBC, that elicited the usual knee jerk reaction from the politicians; Google gave us a glimpse of the future with Glass; in August the sale of smartphones exceeded that of feature phones for the first time with Android the big winner, and "Phablets" become mainstream; and PC sales continued to take a hammering due to competition primarily from tablets.
It was an interesting year for a lot of companies but I think 2014 will be a better year!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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