CEO Blog

Category Archives: Canadian Technology Landscape

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to the Canadian technology landscape.

June Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for June 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 June in previous years …

Five years ago in June 2011 the big deal of the month was Ericsson’s $1.5 Billion purchase of Tecordia; Oracle made a couple of acquisitions (storage vendor Pillar Data and Google signFatwire Software); Google also made a couple of acquisitions, (analytics company PostRank and advertising management company Admeld).  In June 2012 Microsoft’s $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer was the big deal of the month.  Salesforce paid $689 million for Buddy Media; Google reputedly paid $100 million for Meebo; Facebook bought facial recognition company Face.com; and Oracle bought “social intelligence” company Collective Intellect.  Another “buy” of interest to us at Eagle was the reputedly 7 figure purchase of Bullhorn by Vista Equity Partners (Bullhorn is Eagle’s front office software). Salesforce logoThree years ago, in June 2013 saw Salesforce.com’s $2.5 billion purchase of marketing technology company ExactTarget as the big buy of the month.  Other acquisitions saw Irish mobile company Three pay $780 million for O2 Ireland; SanDisk paid $307 million for SMART Storage Systems; Cisco bought Composite Software for $180 million; IBM bought cloud company SoftLayer Technologies; and Buytopia.ca has been on a spree with six acquisitions in the last year.  June 2014 saw some significant deals announced with Oracle’s paying $5 billion for Micros Systems; Sandisk paid $1.1 billion for solid state storage company Fusion-io.  Google continues its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud based home monitoring service Dropcam.  Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging a satellite maker that will enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing Intel logoplatform Tap Commerce and Red Hat is paid $95 million for eNovance.  Last year June 2015 saw Intel pay $16.7 Billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp.  Cisco paid $635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

Which brings us back to the present …

LinkedIn LogoJune 2016 was certainly an interesting month, with the Brexit vote upsetting the markets and causing uncertainty that will likely continue for some time yet; plus there was plenty of M&A activity.  The big deal was undoubtedly the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn for a whopping $26 billion.  There were other billion dollar deals this month too, Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce platform maker Demandware and Amazon announced an extra $3 billion investment in its India operations.  Other significant deals saw Daetwyler Holdings AG pay more than $877 million for Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell Plc; Red Hat paid $568 million for API management software company 3Scale; and OpenText paid $315 million for HP’s Customer Communication Management products.  Other deals saw an investment group buy Dell’s software arm; Microsoft bought natural language start up Wand Labs; and Samsung bought cloud computing company Joyent.  Also Google Capital announced its first investment in a public company, investing $46 million in Care.com, an online personal services marketplace platform.

The US economic news was less buoyant, but they still added 170,000 new jobs and all indicators are relatively positive … just not as positive as the past couple of years.  Canada continues to show little sign of booming, but that is likely expected given our dependence on a hurting resource sector and the ambivalence of our governments to provide any help to that sector.

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 July 2016 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile.

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Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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May Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for May 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 May in previous years …

Five years ago in May 2011 the biggest news was Microsoft’s record breaking offer of $8.5 Billion for Skype.  Other M&A activity included Nvidia paying $367M for Icera; Rambus buying Cryptography Research for $342M in the security space; Sandisk acquiring Pliant Technology in the storage world for $327M; and Twitter paying $40M for TweetDeck.  Facebook logoIn May 2012 Facebook went public and there was a fair amount of M&A activity.  The largest deal saw SAP’s $4.3 Billion acquisition of Ariba with CGI’s $2.8 Billion acquisition of Logica PLC of particular interest to those of us here in Canada!  EMC continued its pattern of acquisitions with the $430 million purchase of XtremIO: perennial acquirer Oracle paid $300 million for social media marketing firm Vitrue; in the storage space Seagate paid $186 million for a controlling interest in LaCie; Microsoft invested $300 million in a Barnes & Noble subsidiary; and LinkedIn paid $118 million for Slideshare.  There was plenty more activity, but with the amounts not published.  Twitter bought RestEngine; IBM bought customer analytics company Tealeaf Technology; VMware bought Wanova; and Cisco Yahoo logobought Truvisco.  The big news three years ago in May 2013 was Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr.  The $6.9 billion deal to take BMC Software private did not cause the same kind of splash … the power of the brand?  Manitoba Tel decided to shed its Allstream division to a holding company for $520 million; McAfee paid $389 million for Finnish security firm Stonesoft; Dell added to its cloud capabilities with the purchase of Estratius; AVG bought PrivacyChoice; and Ottawa based N-Able Technologies became one more Canadian company to be bought by a larger US company, this time Solarwinds for $120 million.  In May 2014 AT&T paid $50 billion for DirectTV and Apple paid $3 billion for Beats. Google continued to invest in its Android strategy this time with a strategy company, Divide, that will bring help breaking into the enterprise.  Other acquisitions saw Seagate pay $450 million for some flash capability from Avago (the LSI divisions); GE bought cyber security firm Wurdtech; EMC bought a flash (see the trend) start-up DSSD; Time Warner SAPbought Youtube video network FullScreen; and SAP bought behavioral target marketing company SeeWhy.  Last year May 2015 saw some very large deals on the M&A front, with the biggest seeing Charter Communications spend $55 Billion to buy Time Warner Cable and a further $10.4 Billion to buy Bright House Networks.  This creates the second largest cable company in the US, just behind Comcast.  The “Billion dollar club” also saw French Telco Altice pay $9.1 Billion for another US cable company Suddenlink Communications.  Keeping with the billion dollar deals involving telcos, Verizon paid $4.4 Billion for AOL to bolster its mobile video capabilities.  Another Billion dollar deal saw HP unload 70% of its stake in its China server, storage and technology storage unit to Tsinghua Holdings for $2.3 billion.  The final billion dollar deal saw EMC pay $1.2 billion for cloud service provider Virtustream.  Apple was out buying a couple of companies in May, snapping up mapping company Coherent Navigation and augmented reality company Metaio.  In other deals Avaya bought cloud technology company Esna; and Cisco bought cloud programming interface company Tropo.

Which brings us back to the present …

CSC logoMay 2016 saw some M&A activity with the largest deal seeing HPE merge its services arm with CSC in a $8.5 billion deal to create arguably the largest IT services company.  In another large deal Vista Equity Partners is paying $1.79 billion for customer service and marketing cloud provider Marketo.  There were some other big names out shopping in May too.  Oracle paid $532 million for software as a service for the utilities vertical, company Opower; Google picked up interactive training platform Synergyse; Infor bought consulting services company Merit Globe AS; and ARM paid $350 million for imaging and embedded systems company Apical.  Microsoft ended an unhappy period by divesting its feature phone business to FIH mobile for $350 million, and GoDaddy picked up cloud based phone company FreedomVoice for $43 million.  New Signature picked up another Microsoft solution provider, Dot Net Solutions; and Edmonton based F12.Net bought Calgary based professional services company XCEL.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itOther companies in the news included Apple who invested $1 billion into the Chinese “Uber” called Didi Chuxing; and Microsoft announced another 1,850 job cuts related to its mobile phone business.

One security report out of the UK suggests that two thirds of large businesses have suffered cyber attacks; another IDC report suggests the big data and analytics market will expand by 50% over the next 4 years; and a Gallup report tells us that millennials are changing jobs faster than any other cohort.

Economic data continues to show a Canadian economy that is limping along and a US economy that continues to grow (another 165,000 new jobs last month).  Other countries with positive news included the UK, Ireland, Germany and, New Zealand.  China also reported that demand exceeds supply for its labour force.  The Caribbean and Latin America are however predicting increased unemployment.

That is my look at the May tech news.  The full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the June 2016 industry news in just about a month’s time… until then, walk fast and smile!

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Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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April 2016 Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for April 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 April in previous years …

Five 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.  In April 2012 Facebook made Facebook logoa $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 rogersteam of developers. Three years ago 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 Microsoft logoof small acquisitions Osmeta and Parse.  April 2014 saw Microsoft officially entered the handset business with the completion of the $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business.  Zebra Technologies paid $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 paid $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 paid $175 million for storage company Inktank.  Last year in Nokia logoApril 2015 there was plenty of action.  Nokia was the biggest story, paying $16.5 Billion for telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, but there was also a $4Billion deal that saw Capgemini buy services firm IGATE and LinkedIn made its largest acquisition ever, paying $1.5 Billion for training portal Lynda.com.  LinkedIn also bought a predictive insights startup company, Refresh.  Netsuite paid $200 million for ERP and commerce software company Bronto Software and Blackberry reputedly shelled out $150 million for file sharing security company Watchdox.  Salesforce was also out shopping, picking up mobile two-factor authentication startup, Toopher.  In another deal involving billions, Informatica decided to follow in DELL’s footsteps and go private for a $5.3 Billion price tag.

Which brings us back to the present …

Bell logoApril 2016 saw some big deals, the biggest was Bell’s $3.8 billion bid for Manitoba Telephone System, which if approved will change the Canadian telco landscape a little.  Other large deal saw a Chinese conglomerate bid $3.6 billion for Lexmark; and Mitel shell out $2 billion for Polycom.  Oracle paid $663 million for cloud based construction software company Textura.  Nokia, who were also in the news announcing layoffs and continued to evolve their business model, this time into the wearable tech arena with the $192 million purchase of Withings.  Other deals saw Autodesk acquire 3D animation software company Solid Angle; and Dimension Data bought Toronto based cloud services company Ceryx.

Intel logoAs mentioned earlier Nokia announced layoffs, expected after last year’s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.  Intel also announced major layoffs of 12,000 staff, reacting to the decline PC sales.

There were some interesting reports about growth in the emerging markets for robotics and Internet of things security while there is also a projected decline in general IT spending for 2016.  This quarter also saw the first decline in smartphone sales as that market reaches saturation however China is expected to grow its technology spend this year.

The US managed to add another 215,000 jobs in March and almost every indicator was positive.  Canada also grew its employment by 40,000 jobs but the economic situation is not as rosy as we see South of the border.

That is it for my monthly 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 in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
————————————————————————————————————————————

March Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for March 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 March in previous years…

Five years ago, March 2011 saw Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  On the tech front Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by Salesforce.com for about Facebook logo$276 million; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million 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 (then) young companies receiving significant Cisco logocapital — Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a whopping $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 videoconferencing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company.  Three years ago, March 2013 saw some of the “usual suspects” making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced.  Oracle continued its move Google signinto the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto University based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly.  In March 2014, Facebook made a, somewhat surprising, $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR.  Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition of smart watch maker, Basis Science.  SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and Telus made a couple of buys, Enode a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access an addition, in British Columbia, to their healthcare HP logodivision.  Last year, March 2015 saw some significant M&A activity with HP paying $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paying $1 billion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile paid $58 million for mobile ad networkMobPartner;  TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world, Charter Communications paid $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.

Which brings us back to the present…

dell logoMarch 2016 saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s restructuring following the recent purchase of EMC.  IBM was out bolstering its services business with a couple of acquisitions; the first was Optevia, a UK-based integrator focused on Microsoft Dynamics; and the second was Bluewolf Group, a global Salesforce consulting partner.  Montreal based Yellow Pages picked up Toronto based Juice Mobile, primarily for its mobile marketing capability.  Another Toronto company, Influitive raised some cash ($8.2 million) and bought a couple of mobile app companies, Ironark Software and Triggerfox; and Netsuite bought IOity solutions a cloud based manufacturing software company.

IBM logoWhile IBM was bolstering its services business through acquisitions it was also trimming staff, with a reputed 14,000 jobs on the block.  Other companies laying off staff included SurveyMonkey and smartwatch company Pebble.  Cisco meanwhile was spreading some cash around with significant investments into India’s digital connectivity initiatives and a smart city initiative in Berlin.

In other news, the tech world lost a couple of icons. Andy Grove, founder of Intel, passed away, as did Ray Tomlinson the inventor of email.

On the economic front the US added another 200,000 jobs in February and the various surveys were generally positive.  Canada on the other hand lost 2,300 jobs and the unemployment rate hit 7.3%.

That is it for my monthly 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 in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
————————————————————————————————————————————

February 2016 Tech News

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for February 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 Februarys …

Five years ago in February 2011 IT was a quiet month for M&A with HP buying Vertica; Opentext bought Metastorm ($182 million); and Rackspace acquired Anso Labs.  World news was dominated by the popular uprisings in a growing number of countries and the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi’s Libyan supporters.  February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting
Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseactivity.  The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo.  Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company Rugged.com.  IBM bought BYOD company Worklight; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought mobile search company Chomp; and LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks.   Three years ago in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal, that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft.  Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital
HP logoWyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG for their smart TVs.  February 2014 was busy in M&A. Facebook make a big move with the $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp.  Comcast made a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable and regulatory approval or otherwise is imminent; Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million by Lithium Technologies.  Google made a couple of acquisitions, online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin.  IBM bought database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies, social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic. Finally, Microsoft announced Steve Balmer’s
Microsoft logoretirement and appointed a new CEO, Satya Nadella. Last year in February 2015 saw some interesting activity.  The $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia are two examples of sectors experiencing massive consolidation.  There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying $4,75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company.  There was a big data center play with UK based Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings.  Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise.  Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay.  Also out buying was Twitter which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators.  There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space.  Showing some forethought Australian job board OneShift has bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45.

Which brings us back to the present …

Cisco logoFebruary 2016 saw some action in the M&A world.  The biggest deal saw HNA Group of China pay $6 billion for Ingram Micro.  Two other billion dollar deals included Cisco paying $1.4 billion for IoT company, Jasper Technologies and a consortium of Chinese internet firms making a $1.2 billion bid for Opera. Microsoft was busy with a couple of acquisitions, Xamarin a cross platform mobile application development company, and Swiftkey which produces predictive keyboard technology.  Another busy company was Alibaba Group which was investing in a bunch of companies, including a $100 million investment in Groupon, and smaller investments in microblogging site Weibo; software company Momo; augmented reality startup Magic Leap; Chinese retail chain Suning; and Singapore telco SingPost.  Other companies of note out buying included IBM who bought digital agency Aperto and Blackberry acquired cybersecurity company Encription.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itIn other news Apple is in a battle with the US government about privacy concerns after being ordered to develop a back door into its operating system.  It was also interesting to see the projected growth in the mobile space with 5.5 billion users expected by 2020.

There wasn’t much good news on the economic front as both Canada and the US had a bit of a slow month.  Canada lost about 5,700 jobs and the unemployment rate jumped a little to 7.2%.  Various US indicators were down but everything is relative and general consensus is that things overall are still positive for the US economy.

That is it for my monthly 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 in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
————————————————————————————————————————————

January 2016 Tech News

it-industry-news-january-2016This 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
The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itannounced 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 logoCisco 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 Google signinteresting 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 O2 logosaw 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 Twitter logobought 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.

IBM logoOn 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.

Microsoft logoIn 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!
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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
————————————————————————————————————————————

Tech News for December 2015

industry-news-december-2015This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for December 2015. 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 Decembers …

dell logoSometimes we think IT news in December can be slow, but the last 5 years might belie that theory!  Five years ago in December 2010 there was plenty of action.  Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one.  Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion.  J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; Salesforce.com bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm.  In December 2011 Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped SAPup by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by Salesforce.com!  the BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion.  It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector.  Three years ago in December 2012 there was a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies.  The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire.   Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix.  In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million.  Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network.  Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseDecember 2013 was a slow month, however Oracle pulled off a $1.5 Billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments;  IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca.  In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit
cards.  Last year, December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and Microsoft logotechnical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.  Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey).  SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

Which brings us back to the present …


Shaw logoDecember 2015
was not a particularly busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity.  The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition of Wind for $1.6 billion.  Meanwhile Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc.  Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players.  Oracle bought Stackhouse a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and in the storage world Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

ToshibaOther companies in the news include the venerable Toshiba, which has been decimated following the financial scandals it suffered.  It looks like layoffs might reach 10,000 as it undergoes a massive restructuring.  Oracle announced an investment in Austin, Texas to build a campus attracting new grads and Samsung and Apple might have settled a five year patent dispute.  An IDC report was bad news for Blackberry, as it forecasts that IOS, Android and Windows will be the top smartphone platforms for the foreseeable future.

US GovernmentOn the economic front the US economy shows no sign of slowing down, adding another 250,000 jobs in November.  All of the indicators were positive, with four separate surveys indicating that companies were going to be growing their tech employee base in 2016.  Canada however is another story, losing 35,700 jobs in November, albeit many of them temporary jobs associated with the election.  The unemployment rate did edge up to 7.1% and while the third quarter saw GDP rise slightly after two quarters of contraction, the economy continues to sputter.  Having said that, demand for professionals is increasing faster than supply and Canada is anticipating an increase in skills shortages.

I have to say that 2015 was not a great year in Canada’s economy, but maybe the US recovery will have a drag along effect for Canada in 2016?  We can hope!  That’s my look at the tech news for December 2015.  Until next month, walk fast and smile!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Tech Industry News for November 2015

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for November 2015. 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 Novembers …

Five years ago in November Twenty-Ten perennial acquirer EMC paid $2.25 billion for Isilion; Attachmate bought Novell for $2.2 Billion; Oracle paid $1 Billion for Art Technology Group; NTT paid $1 Billion for Keane; Amazon paid $500 million for Quidsi; and Juniper Networks bought Trapeze Networks for $152 million.  In November 2011 Mosaid was sold to Sterling partners for $590 million, ending a WiLan hostile takeover attempt.  Japanese company Rakuten paid $315 million for e-book company Kobo; Huawei Best Buy Logotechnologies bought Symantec out of a storage and security joint venture to the tune of $530 million; Yahoo paid $270 million for online advertising company Interclick; and Best Buy paid $167 million for internet technology company Mindshift.  In November 2012 Cisco made two significant “buys”, cloud infrastructure company Meraki ($1.2B) and cloud datacentre and software company Cloupia ($125M); Dell bought software tools company Gale Technologies; NCR bought retail software company Retalix ($650M); Cray bought software company Appro ($25M); Sprint Nextel bought a chunk of US Cellular ($480M); and Toronto based NexJ (headed by another ex-Andersen Consulting alumni)
Opentext logobought Broadstreet for $8.2 million.   Two years ago in November 2013 Opentext paid $1.1 Billion for cloud based integration services company GXS Group and another Canadian deal saw Mitel buy Aastra for close to $400 million.  Other deals this month included ebay’s $800 million purchase of global payments company Braintree; Apple’s $370 million purchase of 3D sensor company PrimeSense; and Akamai’s purchase of Velocius Networks.  Last year, November 2014 was an exceptionally quiet month on the M&A front Yahoo logowith the largest deal being the merger of two semiconductor companies, Cypress Semiconductor and Spansion to form a $4 billion company; private equity company Carlyle Group paid $700 million for investment bank technology company Dealogic and Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising company BrightRoll.

Which brings us back to the present …

expediaNovember 2015 saw a number of smaller M&A deals, but not much in the way of mega-deals.  The one billion dollar deal saw expedia pay $3.9 billion for HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete with Airbnb.  Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own a Canadian telco after paying $465 million for fAllstream.  Other, smaller deals saw Apple buy Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in the latest The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itStar Wars movie;  and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify.  Other deals saw Ingram Micro grow its Brazilian presence with the purchase of ACAO; PCM bought Edmonton based services firm Acrodex; Data centre company CentriLogic bought infrastructure company Advanced Knowledge Networks; solution provider Scalar Systems bought another Toronto company, professional services firm Eosensa; and Washington based New Signature bought Toronto based Microsoft Partner, Imason.

blackberryIn other news this month, if you do not understand the impact of “blockchain” then you should read up on it, a disruptive technology that will impact the financial sector for sure.  It was also interesting to see that 2016 is predicted to bring a 30% increase in the number of “things” on the “Internet of Things”, making it a $235 Billion market next year.  November also saw Blackberry take one on the chin in Pakistan and will need to exit that market before year end, otherwise they would need to share user data with the government.

The economy continues to boom in the US, which once again added 200,000+ jobs and saw many positive indicators.  Canada meanwhile, added 44,400 jobs but many of them were temporary and related to the election, and so expected to disappear again in December.  The oil sector is desperate with continuing layoffs and while some markets are in decent shape the mood is not great.  It remains to be seen what impact our new Federal Government will have, but hopefully it will put sufficient emphasis on the economy.

That’s what I saw affecting the tech industry for November 2015.  Until next month Walk Fast and Smile!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Independent Contractor Myths & Realities in CANADA!

SMB Statistics in CanadaFrom time to time governments will decide that they need to crack down on independent contractors.  Typically the suggestion is that independent contractors are paying less in taxes than they should, or that they are really employees.  During the run up to the recent federal election Justin Trudeau made some references to small business owners avoiding taxes, and hopefully he does some research before he buys into a rhetoric that believes every worker should be an employee of a large entity.

Here are some things you might not have known about independent contractors in the professional space in Canada .  It is very important to remember that Canadian laws are different than US laws., because too often I see “experts” weighing in with advice, based on their US experience.

  1. Taxation … contractors pay the same amount in taxes as everyone else.

An independent contractor in Canada is typically a one person corporation.  Her corporation gets paid for the work done and the contractor either (a) takes a dividend from the corporation as opposed to a salary, or (b) pays themselves a salary.  The dividend route only provide a small tax advantage (by way of deferring taxes) IF she leaves some of the earnings in the company.  If, like 99% of Canadians she spends what she earns then she pays pretty much the same amount of tax as everyone else.  If she doesn’t spend every penny then she might defer tax … but she still pays it!

  1. Expenses … yes the independent contractor gets to write off SOME business expenses.

These are typically minimal, AND if they worked for “big company” then it would be “big company” writing off the expenses.  So, the write offs would have occurred anyway. These are the expenses associated with taking responsibility for a business … marketing, technology, professional services and other necessary business costs.  All of these costs go back into our economy supporting other businesses. and creating jobs.

  1. Risk … independent contractors accept some risks, like any business.

An independent contractor is a business, and as such accepts some risks as it is a lifestyle they choose.  They have no guarantees of long term work they are responsible for finding every gig themselves, in strong or weak economies.  They can be let go at a moment’s notice, with no severance.  If their work is not accepted they don’t get paid.   They need to carry business insurance because they can be sued by their client.  They accept the risk of their and their family’s health, with no big company benefits.  They don’t get paid for time off, vacations, sick days or training time.

  1. Value to the economy … they are a big boon to Canada’s economy.

Having a flexible workforce is HUGE for all companies, and essential to many!  Special projects, seasonal demands or the ability to pilot new ideas without committing to long term employment contracts are essential for these companies.  Having rare expertise available to many companies, rather than just one employer, is a big advantage to Canada’s economy and the average self-employed individual is very motivated to be productive … their continued contract depends on it.

It is worth noting that some percentage of independent contractors have aspirations for a bigger corporate entity.  They might be developing a product on the side, or they might band together with a few others to create a company.  There are many success stories where one or a few contractors formed a company that became a household name.  Some names that come to mind might include CGI, Calian and Cognos but I’m sure there are many.  Entrepreneurs will often start small and go on to bigger things.

  1. The New Way of Work … this is a growing trend in society today

Whether to become self-employed has always been a personal choice.  It offers the individual more control over their career, the ability to earn a good income without having to move into management when they are more interested in a specialised career.  It allows for freedom to take time off for whatever reason.  These people choose to manage their own retirement plans.  They have to find their own benefits and accept the responsibility of  business ownership.

I guess Ronald Reagan might have been right when he said, “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”

It would be my wish that all elected officials understand the realities of employment today and understand the value of these small business owners.  These are valuable contributors to Canada’s economy and messing with that is not going to help anyone!  It certainly won’t put more tax dollars into the coffers!

“Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others. ”  Ayn Rand

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Tech Industry News for October 2015

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for October 2015. 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 Octobers …

Five years ago in October Twenty-Ten Bell Canada bought a data center in Montreal (Hypertec) and picked up xwave from its subsidiary Bell Aliant.  Rogers paid $425 million for Atria networks and IBM picked up Toronto based Clarity Systems.  A year later in steve jobsOctober 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO.  On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million).  Three years ago EMC logothe October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election.   The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell carriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS.  There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP).  In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal. Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseOctober 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity.  Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud based companies: Big Machines provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and Compendium is a content marketing company.  Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public HP logoMobile.  Last year in October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities.  HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc.  Interestingly enough this takes effect November 1, 2015.  Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio.  Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business.  NEST bought out competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity.

Which brings us back to the present …

dell logoOctober 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC.  Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer.  In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital are paying $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk.  IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe.  Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn is paying $110 million for IBM logoLastPass; Trend Micro is paying $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security is paying $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple is buying a speech processing startup, VocalIQ.  As industries converge it is interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

Twitter logoOther companies in the news include Twitter who announced 336 layoffs; Apple lost a patent fight with the University of Wisconsin to the tune of $234 million (of course they also recorded record profits of more than $5 billion).  Google are launching a neat project to bring the internet to 100,000 Indonesian people using balloons (Project Loon).

The US economy continues to impress, adding another 200,000 jobs and having generally positive indicators from surveys and reports.  There are signs that the growth is slowing but this is just to be expected.  Canada added 12,100 jobs in September but the unemployment rate rose to 7.1%.  A new Liberal government was voted in, so we will watch how that works out.

That is my update on tech news for October 2015 … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!
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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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