March 2016 saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s restructuring following the recent purchase of EMC. In addition, IBM was making a couple of acquisitions, as well as Yellow Pages, Influitive, and Netsuite. IBM was also trimming staff, along with SurveyMonkey and Pebble. Cisco was making 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%.
IT Industry News – February 2016
February 2016 saw some action in the M&A world, with the biggest deal being by HNA Group of China. There were two other billion dollar deals, including one by Cisco and another by a consortium of Chinese internet firms. Microsoft and Alibaba Group were both busy with acquisitions, as were IBM and Blackberry. In 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.
IT Industry News – January 2016
January 2016 saw the continued challenges in the Canadian economy. Canada did add 23,000 jobs in December but the unemployment rate remained at 7.1%. The US continued to add jobs, although there are also some signs that the growth is slowing down. On the M&A front, there were some of the household names out shopping. IBM bought video service provider Ustream; Microsoft bought game-based learning tool MinecraftEdu; Apple bought “emotion recognition” company Emotient; and Oracle bought media web tracking firm AddThis. Toshiba bought an ERP solutions company Ignify, and there were a number of smaller deals including Juniper Networks, Fireeye, Acceo Solutions, and Smartprint. Last month had interesting funding announcements by Foresight Technologies, Malwarebytes, and EiQ Networks. In other news, Xerox announced it would be splitting into two separate public companies; Microsoft announced a one billion dollar philanthropic endeavor, and worldwide IT spending took a bit of a dive in 2015.
IT Industry News – December 2015
The big deal this month saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space. Also, Rogers was growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. Other deals in December featured Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Ingram Micro, and Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate. Other companies in the news include the venerable Toshiba, where layoffs might reach 10,000; 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. On the economic front, the US economy shows no sign of slowing down but Canada, however, is another story. The unemployment rate did edge up to 7.1% and the economy continues to sputter. Having said that, demand for professionals is increasing faster than supply.
IT Industry News – November 2015
November 2015 saw a number of M&A deals, but not much in the way of mega-deals. The largest was by Expedia, who purchased HomeAway as a vehicle to better compete with Airbnb. Zayo Holding Group became the first foreign company to own a Canadian telco after buying Allstream; Apple bought Faceshift, a motion capture company whose technology was used in the latest Star Wars movie; and Lightspeed POS bought SEOshop, increasing its size as a competitor to Shopify. In 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.
IT Industry News – October 2015
October 2015 brought some big deals, with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC. VMWare, was also out shopping, as well as Western Digital, IBM, Cisco, LogMeIn, Trend Micro, Red Hat, Vasco Data Security, and Apple, who is buying a speech processing startup, VocalIQ. Other 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); and, Google are launching a neat project to bring the internet to 100,000 Indonesian people using balloons. 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.
IT Industry News – September 2015
September 2015 saw a reasonable amount of M&A activity, but no blockbuster deals. Microsoft was very active closing three deals, Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; and IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop. Other companies making deals included Netsuite, Blackberry, Konica Minolta, Qualcomm, Barracuda Networks and Compugen. Also in the news in September were HP and Samsung. Almost all of the US economic surveys and indicators were positive with the jobless rate edging down to 5.1% and the only cloud on the horizon being labor shortages in the construction industry. Canada on the other hand continues to struggle. After enduring a “technical recession” through the first half of 2015 there might be some positive signs for the second half based on a sharp increase in GPD in June. The unemployment rate rose to 7%; however Canada, did add 12,000 jobs in August.
IT Industry News – August 2015
August 2015 was an exceptionally slow month in the M&A space; however, there were two billion dollar deals. Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 billion. IBM also paid “big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare. A small deal saw Calgary-based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere. Other companies in the news were HTC for laying off 2,250 people and Lenovo who laid off 3,200 people. Both companies have been struggling in the hyper-competitive smartphone space. On the economic front, there is much debate about Canada’s latest “recession” following reports of two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. Certainly the West is suffering because of the price of oil; however, Canada is still adding jobs and consumers are spending. There is no panic, but it certainly isn’t the US, which seems to be going from strength to strength. Almost every indicator there was positive again this month, and another 185,000 jobs added! (Note: By the time you read this the August figures may have been released, so bear in mind this update is based on July numbers released in August.)
IT Industry News – July 2015
July 2015 saw no billion dollar deals, but there was some activity with some big names out shopping. Microsoft made two acquisitions, paying $320 million for cloud security company Adallom and also picked up customer servicing software company FieldOne Systems .The Canadian indicators were not as good with a loss of 6,400 jobs in June and a continued unemployment rate of 6.8%. A Federal government report also suggests that Canada is headed for an IT skills shortage of approximately 182,000 people by 2019.In other news Microsoft, already mentioned for two acquisitions this month, also announced layoffs of 7,800 people related to its phone hardware business. Final word goes to online “marital affair” dating site Ashley Madison, which suffered a major hack and the hackers have threatened to “out” its users. I guess that slogan “Life is short” could be seen differently for those who get outted!
IT Industry News – June 2015
This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 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.