This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for April 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.
A Little History of April in previous years …
Five years ago in April 2010 HP paid $1.2 Billion in the somewhat surprising purchase of Palm; Twitter bought a couple of companies, Cloudhopper and Atebits. Symantec also bought a couple of companies (PGP ($300 Million) and GuardianEdge ($70 Million). Oracle paid $685 Million for Phase Forward, Juniper paid about $100 Million for Ankeena Networks and Salesforce bought Jigsaw for $142 Million. Three years ago in April 2011 Texas Instruments bought National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, Level 3 Communications paid $3 Billion for Global Crossing, Lawson Software was sold for $2 Billion to GGC Software Holdings (an Infor company) and Seagate bought the hard disk drive operations of Samsung. In April 2012 Facebook made a $1 billion bid for Instagram, Facebook also bought a piece of the patent action from Microsoft after Microsoft had paid AOL more than $1 billion for the patents. DELL made three acquisitions this month, Wyse technology, Clerity Solutions and Make Technologies. IBM picked up Toronto based BI company Varicent Software; Intel paid $140 million for some assets from Cray; Citrix picked up Podio; and Twitter bought a startup to acquire its team of developers. Last year in April 2013 Rogers paid $200 million for Primus’s Blackiron subsidiary, including datacenter capability; Toronto based Softchoice also chose to go private in a $412 million private equity deal; Shaw paid $225 million for an Enmax fibre network subsidiary in Calgary; Best Buy sold its stake in Carphone Warehouse for $775 million (having paid $2.1 billion in 2008). Google paid $30 million for social company Wavii. Other big names on the acquisition trail this month include Intel (Mashery), IBM (Urbancode); Computer Associates (Nolio). Finally Facebook had a couple of small acquisitions Osmeta and Parse. April 2014 saw Microsoft officially entered the handset business with the completion of the $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices business. Zebra Technologies paid $3.5 billion for Motorola’s unit that makes mobile devices for business which is a move in the ever expanding Internet of Things space. Apple paid $479 million purchase of the LCD chip development unit of Renesas Electronics. IBM snapped up marketing automation software company Silverpop Systems and open source software company Red Hat paid $175 million for storage company Inktank.
Which brings us back to the present …
My impression of April 2015 was of a month where not too much happened, but when I looked at the facts there was plenty of action! Nokia was the biggest story, paying $16.5 Billion for telecom company Alcatel-Lucent, but there was also a $4Billion deal that saw Capgemini buy services firm IGATE and LinkedIn made its largest acquisition ever, paying $1.5 Billion for training portal Lynda.com. LinkedIn also bought a predictive insights startup company, Refresh. Netsuite paid $200 million for ERP and Commerce software company Bronto Software and Blackberry reputedly shelled out $150 million for file sharing security company Watchdox. Salesforce was also out shopping, picking up mobile two-factor authentication startup, Toopher. In another deal involving billions, Informatica decided to follow in DELL’s footsteps and go private for a $5.3 Billion price tag.
There were a few studies out giving some mixed messages, worldwide sales of PCs declined but not as much as expected; the Canadian Internet of Things market is projected to grow from $2.9 Billion in 2013 to $6.5 Billion in 2018; Samsung shipped the most smartphone last quarter and global IT spending is expected to be hit by the strong US dollar to the tune of $48 Billion in 2015.
The economic indicators this month were not as strong as we have seen previously with confidence in both the Canadian and US markets dampened. The US did have decent growth in jobs, just not as much as in previous months and Canada was essentially static remaining at a 6.8% unemployment rate. Some indicators suggest a slowdown in the US, but others think it is just a short term impact due to bad weather and port closings. With most indicators up, employment up and the dollar strong I think the US is going to be just fine. Canada is still feeling the effects of the hit to the oil patch but other sectors are still performing strongly. Given everything that I am seeing, I would expect the indicators to be looking better next month.
That is my monthly look at the IT industry, and a little market commentary. Until next month, walk fast and smile!!!!!!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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