This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for November 2014. 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 Decembers …
IT news in December can be slow. Five years ago in December 2009 there were no big announcements … Microsoft had a couple of smaller (by their standards) acquisitions focused on different verticals, Opalis for the data centre business and Sentillion for the Health Care world. Google made a small acquisition (AppJet) and IBM added database security vendor Guardium. In December 2010 there was probably more activity than previous Decembers. Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one. Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion. J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; Salesforce.com bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm. Three years ago in December 2011 Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped up by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto based Rypple was acquired by Salesforce.com! the BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion. It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector. December 2012 saw a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker which provides analytics for utilities companies. The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 Billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire. Montreal based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix. In the BYOD space Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million. Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network. Last year December 2013 was a slow month however Oracle pulled off a $1.5 Billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments; IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary based Ideaca. In other company news Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit cards.
Which brings us back to the present …
December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals.
The Sony hack had lots of press, political intervention, hackers, politicians, movies stars and errant executive emails. It was almost a soap opera! Different hacking activity on the German Chancellor’s phone last year (by an intelligence agency) might be good news for Blackberry, who received backing from the German government for voice encryption on their devices … comeback anyone? IDC produced a report about the economic benefits of offshoring and there were a couple of reports showing the cost of cybercrime.
On the M&A front it was surprisingly active, with Microsoft making two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey). SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.
All of the indicators coming from the US were very positive, including jobs data, confidence indicators and GDP results. The Canadian indicators were not as positive, although they could certainly have been worse. Of course all of these indicators happened before oil dropped below $50, so we will see what effect that has in the coming months!
So ends 2014, it was a year that continued the tepid economic recovery here in Canada but seemed to spark a big recovery in the US. Typically that will affect the Canadian economy positively, so fingers crossed as we move forward! I am certainly pumped about the possibilities for 2015 … may it be a great one for you!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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