This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for January 2016. 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 previous year’s Januarys …
Five years ago in January 2011 economic news was generally positive, Steve Jobs announced his leave of absence from Apple and Larry Page assumed the CEO role at Google. There were also some big M&A deals, the largest being the $3.1 Billion acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm. Verizon paid $1.4 Billion for Teremark Worldwide and IGate paid $1.2 Billion for Patni Computer Systems. Also out spending money were Dell, Google, Cisco and Salesforce.com.
Things were very quiet in M&A four years ago in January 2012. Former tech giant JDSU was back on the acquisition trail, even if just to pick up a small Vancouver based company, Dyaptive Systems. Symantec paid $115 million for LiveOffice to help with its storage capabilities, Google bought a bunch more IBM patents, and Xerox picked up Laser Networks in the managed printing space. Rim (now Blackberry) also announced a change in leadership.
Three years ago in January 2013 Cisco bought mobile network software company Intucell for $475 million and sold its Linksys division to Belkin. The biggest dollar value deal was AT&T’s purchase of some of Verison Wireless’s airwaves for $1.9 Billion. Other deals saw NCR buy video software ASTM company uGenius Technology; Canon Canada acquired long-time partner and document management company Oce Canada; NetSuite bought retail management systems company Retail Anywhere; and AVI-SPL bought Duocom-Duologik.
January 2014 was an interesting month with a few big M&A deals. Google was an especially busy player, selling its Motorola Mobility handset unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion but paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs and the company also bought Bitspin. The other big deal saw VMware pay $1.17 billion for mobile device management company AirWatch. Other big names on the acquisition trail included Oracle who bought cloud based service delivery company Corente; Microsoft paid a reputed $100 million for cloud based service company (seems to be a theme) Parature; Ricoh purchased IT service company Mindshift from BestBuy; and Hootsuite bought analytics company uberVu.
Last year in January 2015 the biggest deal saw Hutchison offering more than $14 billion for O2. Other big dollar news saw Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, spinning off its $40 Billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought! The final M&A activity involving a “B” was Telco equipment company Commscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivities network business.
There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying, and in no particular order … Amazon paid something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia bought its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung paid $100 million for Brazil’s largest print company Simpress; Google paid about $100 million for mobile payments company Softcard; Facebook bought Wit.ai a company that has a Siri like solution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox bought CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter paid somewhere between $30 million and $40 million for Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups; and finally Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and in a departure from its history it bought open software company Revolution Analytics.
Which brings us back to the present…
January 2016 sees the continued challenges in the Canadian economy stemming from low oil prices, a weak dollar and relatively high unemployment, particularly in the oil patch. Canada did add 23,000 jobs in December but the unemployment rate remained at 7.1%. The US continues to add jobs, a record 257,000 private sector jobs in December, although there are also some signs that the growth is slowing down.
On the M&A front there were no huge deals, but there was plenty of activity with some of the household names out shopping. IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought gane ased leaning tool MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis. Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and a number of smaller deals included Juniper Networks buying BTISystems Inc.; Fireeye bought iSight partners; Acceo Solutions bought Groupe Techna and Smartprint bought LaserCorp’s Toronto based managed print services business.
There were a number of interesting funding announcements with IoT company Foresight Technologies raising $76 million; Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes raised $50 million; SaaS security company EiQ Networks raised $30 million and several other up and comers raised between $7 million and $25 million.
In other news Xerox announced it would be following a trend, and splitting into two separate public companies; Microsoft a one billion dollar philanthropic endeavor donating cloud services to non-profits and worldwide IT spending took a bit of a dive in 2015 and it is expected that it will be 2019 before we see 2014 levels of spending again.
That has been my look at the tech news for January … until next month, Walk Fast and Smile!