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Technology Industry News For April 2014

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This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for April 2014. 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 April in previous years …

Five years ago in April 2009 Oracle entered the hardware business with its $7.4 Billion purchase of Sun!  EBay paid $1.2 billion for Gmarket (a Korean EBay), Harris Corp paid $675 million for Tyco Electronic wireless division and Tech Mahindra paid $422 million for Satyam. 

In April 2010 HP paid $1.2 Billion in the somewhat surprising purchase of Palm; Twitter bought a couple of companies, Cloudhopper and Atebits.  Symantec also bought a couple of companies (PGP ($300 Million) and GuardianEdge ($70 Million).  Oracle paid $685 Million for Phase Forward, Juniper paid about $100 Million for Ankeena Networks and Salesforce bought Jigsaw for $142 Million. 

Three years ago in April 2011 Texas Instruments bought National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, Level 3 Communications paid $3 Billion for Global Crossing, Lawson Software was sold for $2 Billion to GGC Software Holdings (an Infor company) and Seagate bought the hard disk drive operations of Samsung. 

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In April 2012 Facebook made a $1 billion bid for Instagram, Facebook also bought a piece of the patent action from Microsoft after Microsoft had paid AOL more than $1 billion for the patents.  DELL made three acquisitions this month, Wyse technology, Clerity Solutions and Make Technologies.  IBM picked up Toronto based BI company Varicent Software; Intel paid $140 million for some assets from Cray; Citrix picked up Podio; and Twitter bought a startup to acquire its team of developers.

Last year in April 2013 Rogers paid $200 million for Primus’s Blackiron subsidiary, including datacenter capability; Toronto based Softchoice also chose to go private in a $412 million private equity deal; Shaw paid $225 million for an Enmax fibre network subsidiary in Calgary; Best Buy sold its stake in Carphone Warehouse for $775 million (having paid $2.1 billion in 2008).  Google paid $30 million for social company Wavii.  Other big names on the acquisition trail this month include Intel (Mashery), IBM (Urbancode); Computer Associates (Nolio).  Finally Facebook had a couple of small acquisitions Osmeta and Parse.

Which brings us back to the present …

Microsoft logo

April 2014 was an interesting month from a number of perspectives.  Microsoft officially entered the handset business with the completion of the $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business.  Zebra Technologies is paying $3.5 billion for Motorola’s unit that makes mobile devices for business which is a move in the ever expanding Internet of Things space. Apple is looking to improve its battery life and other aspects of its products with the potential $479 million purchase of the  LCD chip development unit of Renesas Electronics.  IBM snapped up marketing automation software company Silverpop Systems and open source software company Red Hat is paying $175 million for storage company Inktank.

April was “Heartbleed month”, a vulnerability that saw big company websites shut down and the Canada Revenue Agency admit to losing social insurance numbers for 900 people.  The good news is that it has spawned an investment from several industry giants into the security of open source software.

The economy in the US had lots of good news in reports released in April, with most confidence indicators being very positive, outlooks on hiring positive, even the outlook for Summer Student jobs being positive.  Here in Canada we added 42,900 jobs in March and the unemployment rate dropped below 7% to 6.9% and there was a report suggesting that the Greater Toronto Area can expect to add 230,000 jobs over the next four years.

In other news, China saw the introduction of WiFi on airplanes with a pilot project and Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign over his support against same sex marriage.  Michaels Stores had a data breach affecting 3 million payment cards and Canada’s Privacy Commissioner lost a USB with personal information on it … nice!

That is my monthly look at the IT industry, and a little market commentary.  Until next month!!!!!!