This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for September 2018.
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 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 Technologies; 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.
September 2016 saw Tech Data pay $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.
Last year 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.
Which brings us back to the present …
September 2018 saw some big deals and some familiar names … with Adobe’s $4.5 million purchase of Marketo the big deal of the month. Not a true tech play but Sirius XM paid $3.6 billion for Pandora, and with digital/media/tech convergence it seemed like a fit. There has been some data centre news lately, largely driven by the growth in cloud computing and Digital Realty is expanding its footprint with the $1.8 billion purchase of Brazil’s Ascenty. SS&C continues on its acquisition path and growth in the financial services world with the $1.5 billion acquisition of Intralinks. Vonage paid $300 million for contact centre as a service company NewVoiceMedia; Microsoft was adding to its AI portfolio buying Lobe; Intel bought a startup, NetSpeed to help with its IoT chips; Cognizant added to its Salesforce capabilities with the Advanced Technology Group buy; Infosys also added Salesforce capability in Europe, buying Fluido; and Slack is adding an AI driven email client to its portfolio with the purchase of Astro.
Other companies in the news were Facebook for announcing its first Asian datacenter, to be opened in Singapore; and Verizon for its cost cutting mode, starting with voluntary retirements, but more to come!
Not surprisingly the US economy continues to hum along, with CDG growth rate of 4.2%, strong hiring outlooks and all indicators showing positive. The only negatives appear to be a growing skills shortage, but that is echoed around the world. Canada lost jobs in August after a couple of months of growth, and GDP growth is half of the US rate. The OECD suggests that unemployment rates are steady in OECD countries, and one outlook says 43 of 44 countries are planning to add jobs.
An interesting report from South Korea highlights the growing phenomena of senior citizens working because the social systems are not strong. We can expect to see more of that here in North America too, because people are living longer, are more active and the extra income will be needed!
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 2018 tech news in just about a month’s time.
Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!
Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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