Technology News for February 2014 and a Look Back at the Previous 5 Februarys

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for February 2014.

A Little History of previous year’s Februarys…

Five years ago in February 2009 the news was ALL about layoffs and economic uncertainty. Nortel, in addition to their layoffs sold their Alteon asset for less than $18 million, which they had bought for $7 billion nine years previously! In February 2010 M&A activity was slow with no huge buys. Google bought Aardvark; Oracle purchased a couple of smaller entities; IBM bought a small network software company that focuses on the telco vertical; and Sybase bought a company that has a strong foothold in the financial services vertical. There were lots of signs that the recovery was under way and Canada saw some job growth after a period of decline. February 2011 was another quiet month for M&A with HP buying Vertica; Opentext bought Metastorm ($182 million); and Rackspace acquired Anso Labs. World news was dominated by the popular uprisings in a growing number of countries and the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi’s Libyan supporters. Two years ago, February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting activity. The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo. Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company Rugged.com. IBM bought BYOD company Worklight; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought mobile search company Chomp; and LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks. Last year in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal, that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft. Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital Wyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG for their smart TVs.

Which brings us back to the present…

February 2014 saw Facebook make a big move with $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp, which is probably good valuation news for Blackberry because its BBM product would be a direct competitor. Blackberry however had another rough month when IDC released its numbers as the company’s smartphones accounted for only 1.9% of sales in Q4 of 2013.

Another company with big news, although not necessarily positive was Sony. They appear to be reinventing themselves in their various niches as they are closing their eReader store and divesting themselves of their PC division (Vaio).

In other M&A news Comcast is making a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable; Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million by Lithium Technologies. Google made a couple of acquisitions, online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin. IBM is buying database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies, social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic.

Other companies making news this month include Microsoft who announced a new CEO, Satya Nadella (who replaces Steve Ballmer) plus a new Board Chair John Thompson (who replaces Bill Gates). Dell started its new life as a private company with major restructuring, resulting in likely 15,000 job losses. On the good news front, jobs creation and infrastructure additions in Canada come in the form of new datacenters for Bell Aliant and for Telus.

In reports from various sources Android has about 80% of the mobile OS market share, with Apple a distant second. Samsung was the dominant handset hardware supplier with 32% share, with Apple second. Apple however accounted for approximately 1/3 of tablet sales in Western Europe last year, with Samsung second.

A Cisco study suggests that users will increase mobile data usage by a factor of approximately 8 over the coming 5 years… so make sure you have good data plans! The Canadian Federal Government announced an infrastructure investment to put broadband into rural communities and Gartner tell us that IT spending was flat year over year, for the 13th year in a row!

Economic news was generally mixed, with no major bad news and no big breakthroughs. Some job growth in Canada and the US, some positive confidence indicators and some not so good. One study seemed to sum it up for me, Careerbuilder found that 58% of employers feel the recession is still lingering!

That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.

I’ll be back at the end of March, until then… walk fast and smile!

Why Home Business Technology Is Really Easy Today

If you are going to operate your own home business successfully you need to utilize the technology available to you. Today that means being involved in ecommerce and selling things on the Internet. The good news is home business technology today is really easy to use. Let’s take a little closer look at what that means for you.

1. First of all a home business means you do not have to go out into the real world and create a brick and mortar business. This means you can save all kinds of money on office rent, hiring employees, and other forms of overhead that have eliminated people from starting businesses of their own in the past.

2. The Internet also means that you have a global economy available to you. Depending on the type of products you sell using a website makes it possible for you to reach an unlimited supply of prospects for your products.

3. The Internet also means you can market your products in ways that you could have never done in the past. No longer do you have to worry about newspaper advertising, or radio and TV as your primary sources of promoting. Now you can promote online via banner ads, blogging, social networking, email marketing, and many other ways.

4. Getting been paid on the Internet is much easier as well. In the past you would have had to go to your bank and set up a Visa and MasterCard payment account. Today PayPal is the world’s largest payment processor and they accept credit cards for you. This makes selling things online extremely easy to do.

5. Many home businesses choose to represent products that provide instant access. For example selling information products is a great way to avoid shipping costs. Once your customer’s payment has been processed they can be sent to a download page where they receive the product they have ordered. This means you can sell ebooks, reports, articles, and software all by allowing your customer to instantly download the product.

Other home businesses choose to sell products as an affiliate marketer. This has advantages in terms of collecting payments and shipping products too. The affiliate merchant takes care of all this for you so you never actually touch the money or touch the product.

These are all examples of how home business technology is really easy to use today. Anyone with a strong work ethic and average intelligence can do it.

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