The Eagle Blog

IT Industry News – August 2012

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for August 2012. 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 August in previous years …

In August 2008 Ricoh paid $1.6B for Ikon Office Solutions, Bae (UK) bid $1B for Detica Group (UK), and Compucom bought Getronics (former Wang) to form a $2.1B company.  Hard on their heels was a big move by Indian outsourcing company Infosys, paying $750M plus for Axon group in the UK.  A biggish one for Canada was the private equity buy of Q9 networks for $360M by CDC.  Three years ago in August 2009, the unemployment news was still bleak and there were some household names making acquisitions, but no huge deals.  Facebook bought Friendfind and Myspace bought iLike.  Google enhanced its video capability with the purchase on On2 Technologies; Rim bought a mobile browser company Torch Mobile; and Fluke Networks improved its wireless capability with the purchase of Airmagnet.  August 2010 was another good month on the recovery front and a busy month for acquisitions.  Google made five acquisitions … Socialdeck, Angstro, Slide, Jambool and, but Intel spent the most money … paying $7.7 billion for McAfee AND $1.4 billion for Infinion Technology’s wireless division!  IBM bought Datacap and Unica Corp; HP bought Fortify Software and Stratavia; 3M paid $900 million for Cogent; CA paid $200 million for Arcot Systems; and Rim, Cisco, Citrix and Nokia were all out shopping too!  In addition to their two acquisitions HP lost CEO Mark Hurd to a scandal.  Last year in August 2011 Hurricane Irene hit the US coast, there was a mini-market crash and the world’s economies continued to struggle.  Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility and IBM paid $387 million to add Algorithmics to its analytics portfolio, they also bought UK based analytics company i2.  Skype which was in the process of being merged into Microsoft, bought GroupMe, Bitly bought Twitterfeed and Citrix bought Ringcube.

Which brings us back to the present …

August 2012 was a fairly slow news month, it is a big vacation month and my sense is that many people did take time to recharge their batteries in the Summer sun!  News this month was mixed, with unemployment up slightly in both Canada and the US, but signs the US economy is growing, albeit slowly!  A Randstad survey suggests employee confidence is up and IT employment in the US is very buoyant according to TechServe Alliance.  Europe continues to struggle, and even Germany is not immune as unemployment grew there.  A UK think tank also produced a pessimistic forecast of a “concurrent slowdown” in every major economic region.

Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility last year is starting to see some impact now, with a 20% reduction in the unit’s workforce announced.  Dropbox managed to get hacked and give up a large number of customer emails and Apple won its landmark patent case with Samsung, and a $1billion payday!

The M&A space was not very active in August but IBM was busiest, paying $1.3 billion for HR solutions and services company Kenexa.  IBM also bought flash memory developer, Texas Memory Systems.  The other “big name” deal was Google’s purchase of social media marketing company Wildfire Interactive, reputedly for $250 million.  Closer to home, Quebec’s 20-20 Technologies was sold for $77 million to private equity company Vector Capital Corp.

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 September 2012 industry news in just about a month’s time.  Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

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