This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for October 2016. 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 Octobers …
Five years ago in October 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO. On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million). The October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election. The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell carriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP). In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal. Three years ago, October 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity. Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud based companies: Big Machines provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and Compendium is a content marketing company. Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public Mobile. In October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities. HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc. Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio. Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business. NEST bought out competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity. Last year October 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC. Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer. In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital paid $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk. IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe. Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn paid $110 million for LastPass; Trend Micro paid $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security paid $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple bought a speech processing startup, VocalIQ. As industries converged it was interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.
Which brings us back to the present …
Just like four years ago October 2016 news has been dominated by the US Presidential election … and of course the upset happened! Maybe the election is why the M&A market was slow this month? Not much in the way of deals, with one BIG deal seeing Qualcomm pay $47 Billion for NXP Semiconductor. The only other sizable deal saw Wipro pay $500 million for IT cloud consulting company Appirio. Google picked up Toronto based video marketing startup FameBit and Pivot Technology Solutions picked up Ottawa based Teramach … and that was about it for October.
Other news saw Google step into the smartphone world with the release of Pixel, at a time when wireless use in Canada is more than 50% of telecom revenues, however that is a crowded and hyper-competitive space so it will be interesting to watch. Twitter announced layoffs plus the fact it will be shutting down the video service Vine. Lastly HP Inc. also announced layoffs in its plans.
Despite all of the hype and vitriol of the presidential campaign, most indicators that were based on numbers were reasonably positive. A couple of subjective indices (measuring confidence) were down, but nothing crazy. There were also numerous reports from IDC and Gartner this month with predictions of growth in many tech sectors including total IT spend, cloud spending, security spending etc. About the only areas that are trending down are PC sales which is no surprise and smartwatches, which is a surprise.
I would be remiss in my husbandly duties if I did not point out Janis Grantham’s inclusion in the 2016 Global Power 100 — Women in Staffing list.
I also found it surprising that it is five years since Steve Jobs passed away, it just doesn’t seem that long ago.
That is my update on tech news for October 2016 … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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