This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2017. 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 September in previous years …
Five years ago in September 2012 Infosys increased its management consultancy capability with the $330 million purchase of Lodestone. Lenovo bought Stoneware, a software company focused on the cloud, and Ericsson bought ConceptWave. A couple of interesting investment moves saw Microsoft invest in Klout and Silicon Valley VC Chameth Palihapitiya invest in Xtreme Labs.
Four years ago in September 2013 Blackberry announced a quarterly loss of almost $1 million and laid off 4,500 people. Microsoft bought Nokia’s devices and services unit for more than $7 billion. Ebay paid $800 million for payment platform Braintree; Synnex bought IBM’s customer care division for $505 million; Rogers added to its data centre capacity with the $161 million purchase of Pivot Data Centres; Extreme Networks bought Entersys Networks for $180 million; and Manitoba Telephone Systems bought Epic Information Systems.
September 2014 saw some big deals announced, including Microsoft’s $2.5 billion purchase of gaming company Minecraft, Lenovo’s $2.1 billion purchase of IBM’s x86 server business and Cognizant’s $2.7 billion purchase of healthcare company, Trizetto Corp. Hootsuite had an injection of cash and bought two companies, social telephony company Zeetl and social media marketing platform Brightkit. Google also made two acquisitions, biotech company Lift Labs and desktop polling company Polar. There were plenty more deals announced, including Yahoo’s $8 million purchase of cloud based document hosting company Bookpad; Cisco’s purchase of private cloud company Metacloud; SAP’s purchase of expense software company Concur; Blackberry’s purchase of virtual identity software startup Movirtu and Red Hat’s purchase of mobile app company FeedHenry.
Two years ago in September 2015 there was a fair bit of M&A activity but no blockbuster deals. Microsoft was very active, closing three deals, Adxstudio which provides web based solutions for Dynamics CRM; app developer Double Labs; and cloud security firm Adallom. Accenture picked up the cloud services company Cloud Sherpas; IBM added cloud software startup StrongLoop; Netsuite paid $200 million for cloud based marketing company Bronto Software; and Blackberry paid $425 million for competitor Good Technology. Hardware company Konica Minolta bought IT Weapons; Qualcomm bought medical device and data management company Capsule Technologie; Networking and storage company Barracuda Networks bought online backup and disaster recovery company Intronis; and Compugen bought some of the assets of another Canadian company Metafore.
Last year in September 2016 Tech Data paid $2.6 Billion for the technology solutions group of Avnet, and HP made the biggest printer acquisition to date, paying $1.05 Billion for Samsung’s printer business. Other deals saw Google pay $625 million for Apogee, and restaurant company Subway bought online order taking software company Avanti Commerce. One investment that caught my eye, in the staffing world saw Accenture invest in crowdtesting company Applause.
Which brings us back to the present …
September 2017 saw Google splash out $1.1 Billion to acquire HTC’s pixel team, strengthening its own smartphone capabilities. In an interesting move IKEA bought gig economy company TaskRabbit, so perhaps you won’t need to put that furniture together yourself in the future! HPE bought Cloud Technology Partners, presumably to strengthen its capabilities in that area and possibly access new clients. Finally Edmonton company F12.net bought Vancouver’s ONDeck Systems as it pursues its goal to be a National IT Service Provider.
HPE was also in the news, announcing yet another round of layoffs, this time 5,000 people before the year ends. Equifax hit the news, retroactively announcing a huge cyber breach affecting 143 million customers which has since cost the CEO, CIO and CISO their jobs. CareerBuilder also announced 120 layoffs, as part of consolidation following multiple acquisitions and now a new owner. IBM continues to take heat for the Phoenix Project, which is the Canadian Federal Governments pay system and has been a huge mess … and in all honesty there is plenty of blame to go around for this fiasco.
The Canadian economy has been performing well, with 22,000 jobs added in August and 374,000 jobs created in the last year. However storm clouds are gathering with huge new minimum wage hikes coming, non-business friendly changes to labour laws, carbon taxes and new Federal Tax legislation that will impact professionals and business owners. Some observers suggest that we might face a Government induced recession in 2018.
Elsewhere the US economy continues to perform well, and the Trump administration is proposing tax cuts for business, which should create even more opportunity and possibly threaten Canada’s economy as Canadian businesses face tax hikes. Worldwide, generally economies and job prospects are improving. Even Greece improved its unemployment rate 2% over the last year, from 23% to 21%.
There were a few indicators of how our changing world will impact jobs with one report suggesting 4 million jobs in the UK will be replaced by robots in the next ten years. Another 700,000 low skilled IT jobs will be lost to automation in the next five years.
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 October 2017 tech news in just about a month’s time.
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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