This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for February 2013. 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 2008 Nortel was still announcing layoffs, and the news centred around economic uncertainty. Four years ago in February 2009 the news was ALL about layoffs and economic uncertainty. Nortel, in addition to their layoffs sold their Alteon asset for less than $18 million, which they had bought for $7 billion nine years previously! In February 2010 M&A activity was slow with no huge buys. Google bought Aardvark; Oracle purchased a couple of smaller entities; IBM bought a small network software company that focuses on the telco vertical; and Sybase bought a company that has a strong foothold in the financial services vertical. There were lots of signs that the recovery was under way and Canada saw some job growth after a period of decline. February 2011 was another 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 activity. 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.
Which brings us back to the present …
February 2013 saw Dell go 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 Wyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG, for their smart TVs.
A couple of reports about venture capitalism in Canada were positive, one suggesting Canada is third in the world for activity, behind only the US and UK. The second report suggests investment is on pace for a strong year. Both are good news in an environment where entrepreneurs bemoan the lack of available funding in Canada.
In other news, the hacker regroup Anonymous continues to make political statements with hacks in the US government and the financial services industry. This month they posted details of 4,000 American bank executives. Here in Canada a backlash against new internet legislation saw the cancelling of Bill C-30 because of privacy concerns. Canadian employment fell in January, but in that interesting statistical world the unemployment rate also fell to 7%. There were several positive indicators in the US economy including a growth in GDP, increase in IT jobs, and a couple of indexes showing increased confidence.
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 at the end of March, until then … walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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