The Eagle Blog

IT Industry News – April 2011

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for April 2011. 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. 

I think it’s interesting to look back and see what was news in previous years, and how it might affect news today and so I do a quick recap of the larger events, mostly M&A related this month in previous years.  This month it was interesting that the largest deal of April 2011 (Texas Instruments/National Semiconductor) is very similar to deal done by a competitor in April 2008 (STMicroelectronics/NXP)! 

In April 2007Google had a busy month, paying a whopping $3.1 Billion for Doubleclick, in addition to buying Marratech’s videoconferencing software; other big deals included CSC paying $1.3 Billion for Covansys; Mitel paid $732 million for Inter-tel, Software AG  paid $546 million for webMethods and Business Objects bought Cartesis for about $300 million.  

The big M&A deal in April 2008saw a merger of the third and fourth largest chip makers STMicroelectronics and NXP into a $3 Billion company (interesting that April 2011 sees another such merger).  IBM was busy, making three smaller acquisitions this month Diligent, FilesX and InfoDyne; Yahoo bought Tensa Kft. Despite the attentions of Microsoft; and speaking of Microsoft they had a couple of acquisitions Farecast and Komoku;  EMC also had a couple of forays into the M&A market with Iomega and Conchango plc. 

Two years ago in April 2009other than the recession, the news for the month in the technology world was Oracle’s $7.4 Billion purchase of Sun and thus entry into the hardware business!  This was not the only big deal with EBay offering $1.2 billion for Gmarket (a Korean EBay), Harris Corp paying $675 million for Tyco Electronic wireless division and perhaps an end to Satyam’s immediate problems with a $422 million purchase by Tech Mahindra.  

In April 2010HP paid $1.2 Billion in the somewhat surprising purchase of Palm; Twitter bought a couple of companies, Cloudhopper and Atebits.  Symentec 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.  

Here we are in April 2011and there were several deals in the billion dollars and above range.  Texas Instruments is buying National Semiconductor for $6.5 Billion cash to become the third largest semiconductor maker in the world.  Level 3 Communications is paying $3 Billion for Global Crossing to create a “$6.26 Billion per year” company.  Lawson Software is being sold for $2 Billion to an Infor affiliate, GGC Software Holdings and Seagate is buying the hard disk drive operations of Samsung to become one of the two large players standing in this space.  In the close to a Billion category, Google is going after Nortel’s patents with a $900 million bid … Google also picked up Toronto mobile app company Pushlife ($25 million). 

In other news the volume of web attacks keeps climbing at an astronomical rate, increasing by 93% from 2009 to 2010!  Android phone keep gobbling up market, share with RIM the biggest loser.  Dell announced that would be investing $1 Billion over the next year or so to bolster its data storage products and a relatively small contract award in BC was a significant event in the growing market for smart metering … watch that space. 

One the economic front latest numbers show Canada’s unemployment rate stayed relatively flat at 7.7% (March), real GDP fell 0.2% (February) and Moody’s Analytics reported that Canada was the first of the G7 countries to “jump from recovery to self-sustaining expansion” … the primary driver being the healthy financial sector.  In the US, unemployment is at 8.8%, there is optimism among CEOs with 50% expecting increases in hiring and several other confidence indicators all heading in the right direction.  In Europe Germany continues to be the engine of growth, followed by France.  The Euro unemployment rate was 9.9%, (6.5% in Germany; 21% in Spain); a study from Ireland tried to put a brave face on things but their economy was characterized as “bouncing along the bottom”; the UK continues to struggle and Greece’s deficit was revealed as significantly higher than projected.  Overall the OECD says that economic growth in the G7 countries (outside of Japan … given their current struggles) should rise at 3% in the first half of 2011. 

Here at Eagle we continue to see the recovery blow hot and cold, resulting in fluctuating demand across the different markets.  Some recent months have been very, very busy … April was not slow, but not crazy busy with new demand! 

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 May 2011 industry news in just about a month’s time. 

Walk Fast and Smile

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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