Two years ago in December 2007 the big deal was in the gaming space with Warcraft maker Vivendi Games merging with Activision in a $9.85 Billion creation of a new gaming entity, there were a number of other deals but nothing huge. In December 2008 the poor economy was the big news. Sony, Yahoo, Adobe, Nokia and AT&T all announced layoffs. A $41 Billion deal to buy Bell Canada fell through over liquidity concerns, mass layoff numbers were up and various studies were cautious about hiring plans for 2009. On the M&A front the biggest deal involved a couple of private equity companies buying a Danish IT company (KMD) for $375 million; Sierra Wireless paid $277 million for Wavecom; and Wipro paid $127 million for the IT arm of Citigroup.
So what is happening in December 2009? To be honest, if we leave out stories about famous golfers, then not very much! Of course Globalive might disagree, as their ability to operate in the wireless business in Canada was enabled by Industry Canada, after an initial negative reaction from the CRTC. The Wind Mobile brand is now competing with the more established suppliers.
On the M&A front there were no big announcements … Microsoft had a couple of smaller (by their standards) acquisitions focused on different verticals, Opalis for the data centre business and Sentillion for the Health Care world. Google made a small acquisition (AppJet), IBM added database security vendor Guardium and there were a couple of other deals during the month.
A couple of indicators were positive, PC sales are up again, Spherion’s employee confidence index rose (but more people are looking to change job), the US Conference Board index rose and employment was up in Canada.
A couple of British reports and a German one were quite pessimistic about the upcoming year, forecasting wage cuts and layoffs, and another German report is forecasting severe labour shortages by the year 2015. Finally a Robert Half survey suggests that many IT shops are under manned which will need to be addressed if companies are going to be able to implement their IT strategies.
December generally tends to be a quieter month in the technology world, but 2009 was quieter than most. Perhaps it was because there was so much activity already through the year, perhaps it was because everyone is tired after such a tough year … and I can relate to both theories. Whatever the reason, the topics of conversation in December were much more about Tiger Woods than about the latest acquisition in the tech world, or any other tech related story.
Wishing you every success for “Twenty-ten” … and hopefully these newsletters will be filled with more positive news than those reported in 2009! Until next month …