Meta tries on Threads for size

Facebook parent company Meta has launched Threads, a standalone microblogging app that rivals Twitter.
Paul Booth
By Paul Booth
Johannesburg, 31 Jul 2023
Paul Booth.
Paul Booth.

Meta’s launch of Threads, the acquisitions of Imperva and WorldPay, and the naming of NCR’s forthcoming split companies dominated the technology industry last month.

Key local news

  • Altron is looking to dispose of two loss-making business units, Altron Nexus and Altron Document Solutions.
  • France-based Canal+ has increased its stake in MultiChoice Group to 31.7%.
  • Ngubane Johannesburg, a South African professional services firm, is to merge with RSM South Africa, a provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to middle-market businesses globally. The combined company will be called RSM South Africa.
  • The R380 million investment by Cape Town’s Knife Capital in Kasha, an Africa-focused health technology company.
  • The appointment of a new CEO at FNB Connect.

Key African news

  • Axian Telecom has signed an agreement to acquire a further 40% equity interest in its joint venture business in Senegal (Free in Senegal). After the completion of the transaction, Axian Telecom will own an 80% equity interest.
  • The Ooredoo Group and Zain Group have entered exclusive negotiations with UAE-based TASC Towers Holding to combine tower assets across the region.
  • Ubuntu Towers Uganda has rebranded to TowerCo of Africa Uganda, which is 90% owned by TowerCo of Africa (TOA), a subsidiary of AXIAN Telecom.
  • The appointments of new CEOs/MDs at Amazon Prime Video and SAP.

Key international news

  • Accenture acquired Strongbow Consulting, a data-driven strategic advisory firm with deep expertise in helping organisations plan and execute technology transformation strategies, while minimising risk and maximising cost savings.
  • UK-based Air IT, an MSP, bought Vital Technology Group, an IT service provider.
  • UK-based ALSO Group, an MSP, purchased Norway-based Commaxx, a value-added distributor.
  • ATS acquired Yazzoom, a Belgium-based provider of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based tools for industrial production.
  • Bow River Capital bought Vitruvi Software, which provides utility construction management software.
  • DigitalOcean Holdings acquired Paperspace, a provider of cloud infrastructure as a service for highly scalable applications leveraging graphics processing units.
  • eBay bought Certilogo, provider of AI-powered apparel and fashion goods digital IDs and authentication.
  • FactSet purchased idaciti, an innovator in data structuring and collection technology.
  • Fulcrum IT Partners acquired Canada-based Stoneworks Technologies, a player in the traditional infrastructure and data centre markets.
  • HireRight Holdings bought Digital Trusted Identity Services, an FBI-approved channeler specialising in collecting and processing biometric and biographical data.
  • inTEC Group, an SME and education sector IT specialist, purchased Sweethaven, a managed IT services provider.

Google has violated Touchstream Technologies’ patent rights with its remote-streaming technology.

  • Integrity360 acquired Advantio, an Irish payment card industry qualified security assessor (PCI QSA) and cyber security services reseller.
  • Jamf purchased dataJAR, a UK-based managed services provider focused on providing powerful Apple and Jamf services for businesses and educational organisations.
  • Locafy acquired Citation Boost Technology, provider of search engine optimisation technology.
  • Logitech International bought Loupedeck, a Finland-based creator of custom consoles and software designed to make the creative process faster and more intuitive for streamers, creators and gamers.
  • UK-based Node4 purchased ThreeTwoFour, an information security and technology risk specialist.
  • OAG, a data platform for the global travel industry, acquired Infare, provider of competitor air travel data ($500 million).
  • Omnicom bought German-based Grabarz & Partner, a creative agency.
  • PDF Solutions purchased Lantern Machinery Analytics, a privately held provider of automated image analysis and feature extraction AI/ML software for critical inspection and metrology steps at battery cell development and manufacturing processes for the electric vehicle industry.
  • Sabre acquired Techsembly, a hospitality e-commerce provider.
  • Teradata bought Stemma Technologies, a cloud-native, fully managed data catalogue solution.
  • Timetoact Group purchased Stagil, which offers solutions for businesses using Atlassian products.
  • Taiwan-based Ubiik, an emerging provider of advanced metering infrastructure and private LTE solutions, acquired New Zealand-based Mimomax Wireless, a provider of mission-critical communication solutions for narrowband channels.
  • Apple infringed two telecommunications patents used in devices including iPhones and iPads, London's Court of Appeal ruled, dismissing the tech giant's appeal in a long-running dispute with a US patent holder, Optis Cellular Technology.
  • Ardian has agreed to purchase a 50% stake in MXT Holdings, a Mexico City-based telecommunications company.
  • German-based Becthle has made an offer to purchase French IT firm Apixit, expanding its IT services portfolio into a sixth European country, after Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
  • Bharti Airtel has acquired an additional 20.6% stake in software-defined networking start-up Lavelle Networks. Its total stake is now 45.6%.
  • Australia's BrainChip Holdings, an advanced artificial intelligence chipmaker, has received a patent grant in the United States on one of its neuromorphic processors.
  • Cadence Design Systems and Rambus have entered into a definitive agreement for Cadence to acquire the Rambus SerDes and memory interface PHY IP business.
  • CapVest Partners has agreed to acquire Kerridge Commercial Systems, a UK-based enterprise resource planning software company (€800 million).
  • China has released its first homegrown open source desktop operating system, named OpenKylin.
  • Cisco will acquire Oort, an identity threat detection and response start-up.
  • Dell Technologies has signed a definitive agreement to buy Moogsoft, an AI-driven provider of intelligent monitoring solutions that support DevOps and ITOps.
  • Dye & Durham has entered into an agreement to sell TM Group (UK) to Aurelius, a globally active alternative investment firm.
  • Facebook parent company Meta has launched Threads, a standalone microblogging app that rivals Elon Musk’s Twitter.
  • Fidelity National Information Services is selling a 55% stake in its merchant business (WorldPay) to private equity firm GTCR for $11.7 billion.
  • Goldman Sachs Assets Management has agreed to acquire Norwegian edtech company Kahoot for about $1.7 billion in a take-private deal alongside the company's existing backers, which include General Atlantic and LEGO Group's Kirkbi Invest.
  • Google has violated Touchstream Technologies’ patent rights with its remote-streaming technology and must pay $338.7 million in damages.
  • GreenPages has changed its name to Blue Mantis in recognition of its transformation into a digital era service provider.
  • GTCR has agreed to buy Once For All, a compliance and supply chain management software provider.
  • HCLTech has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the ASAP Group, an automotive engineering services provider ($280 million).
  • Haveli Investments and General Atlantic have agreed to acquire Certinia, a business software vendor ($1 billion).
  • Impinj, a Rain RFID provider and internet of things pioneer, has prevailed in two Rain RFID patent infringement lawsuits against NXP Semiconductors.
  • Innovative Solutions & Support has entered into an exclusive licence and acquired key assets for certain Inertial, Communication and Navigation product lines from Honeywell International.
  • Intel has agreed to a term sheet with Asus, which has agreed to manufacture, sell and support the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) 10th to 13th generations systems product line, and to develop future NUC systems designs.
  • Japan will give Sumco Corporation, a major maker of silicon wafers, a subsidy of up to $530 million to fund additional capacity as part of efforts to bolster the country's semiconductor industry.
  • MaxLinear has scrapped a near $4 billion deal to acquire Taiwan-based Silicon Motion.
  • Meta has unveiled its new AI system “Llama2”, rivalling the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.
  • NCR has unveiled the names for the two companies that will form after its planned separation, expected in Q423, with the digital commerce business called NCR Voyix and the ATM business NCR Atleos.
  • OMNIQ has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tadiran Telecom, an international provider of advanced unified communications and collaboration solutions.
  • PowerSchool has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SchoolMessenger, a provider of K-12 communication tools in North America.
  • Telecommunications and power contractor QualTek Services has emerged from bankruptcy after it reduced its debt by about $307 million through a restructuring deal.
  • Belgium telecoms provider Proximus is to buy a majority stake in India's Route Mobile ($720.53 million).
  • The Riverside Company is selling UK-based Guestline, a hospitality software company, to Hg-backed software provider Access Group.
  • Spain's anti-trust watchdog has imposed fines worth a total of $218 million on Amazon and Apple for colluding to limit the online sale of devices from Apple and competitors in Spain.
  • STG has acquired and recapitalised Wrike, a work management platform formerly owned by Vista Equity Partners and Elliott Investment Management.
  • Tata Communications International has signed a share purchase agreement to buy the remaining nearly 42% stake of Oasis Smart Sim Europe SAS. Tata Communications had acquired a majority stake (58.1%) in Oasis Smart Sim SAS in 2020.
  • Teleflex has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Palette Life Sciences ($600 million).
  • Telefonica has sold a 54% stake in its fibre-optic network in Peru to KKR and 10% to Entel's local business.
  • Thales has struck a deal with Thoma Bravo to buy Imperva, a data and application cyber security company ($3.6 billion).
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific will acquire data intelligence company CorEvitas from Audax Private Equity ($912.5 million).
  • ThoughtSpot, an analytics platform provider, will acquire Mode Analytics, a business intelligence software developer ($200 million).
  • TPG is acquiring Forcepoint's government cyber security business, known as Forcepoint Global Governments and Critical Infrastructure, from Francisco Partners ($2.45 billion).
  • TPG has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nextech, a provider of clinical and administrative healthcare technology solutions for specialty physician practices ($1.4 billion).
  • TPG's Integrated Media Company has agreed to purchase Canada-based software provider Toon Boom Animation from Nelvana, a subsidiary of Corus Entertainment ($112.5 million)
  • Vedanta Group will acquire a 100% stake in semiconductor and display units from sister concern Twin Star Technologies.
  • China-based Victory Giant Technology Huizhou has agreed to buy Singapore-based MFS Technology, a printed circuit board maker.
  • Wistron will sell all its shares in Luxshare, a global designer and manufacturer of cable assembly and connector system solutions for consumer, automotive, cloud and enterprise applications ($243.71 million).
  • xCorp’s CEO Elon Musk has launched his AI company xAI, after months of saying he would build a rival for OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
  • The sale of struggling Silicon Valley start-up zGlue’s patents in 2021 was unremarkable except for one detail: the technology it owned – designed to cut the time and cost for making chips – showed up 13 months later in the patent portfolio of Chipuller, a start-up in China’s southern tech hub Shenzhen. Chipuller purchased what is referred to as chiplet technology, a cost-efficient way to package groups of small semiconductors to form one powerful brain capable of powering everything from data centres, to gadgets at home.
  • Blackstone invested in Adaptive Shield, a software as a service security company.
  • BVP Forge, the PE arm of Bessemer Venture Partners, invested in Parsec Automation, a software provider for manufacturing operations management.
  • The EU and Belgium's regional Flemish government will together invest €1.5 billion in Belgian chip technology firm Imec.
  • Lone View Capital invested in Smartlinx, a workforce management software provider.
  • The €100 million investment by several investors in Netherlands-based Smart Photonics, a maker of photonic chips.
  • Thoma Bravo invested in Bluesight – the Medication Intelligence Company.
  • The $85.8 million investment led by COFCO Capital in Yue Shi FCF, which offers AI-powered solutions for the management of cold storage supply chains.
  • FPE Capital led an investment in UK specialist software companies NoBlue and Elevate2.
  • The $116 million investment, led by General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero, in o9 Solutions, an AI-powered planning, analytics and data platform operator.
  • The $50 million investment, led by Generation Investment Management, in OneTrust, a data privacy specialist.
  • The $56.7 million investment, led by Prosperity7 Ventures, in Hammerspace, the unstructured data orchestration software start-up.
  • The $170 million investment, led by Softbank, in Telexistence, a Japanese robotics start-up.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at Casa Systems, CPS Technologies, Digital World Acquisition, PTC, Quick Heal Technologies, Riverbed Technology and Vimeo.
  • The deaths of Fabio Cairoli, IGT CEO of Global Lottery, and Vinu Kumar, CEO of Aeronics Internet.
  • IPO filings from Black Sesame, a self-driving chip developer (Hong Kong), Fourth Paradigm Technology, an AI start-up (Hong Kong), Hua Hong Semiconductor (China’s Nasdaq-like STAR market), Netweb Technologies (India) and Rakuten’s securities unit (Japan).
  • IPOs/listings from CAB Payments (London), Fadu Technology (South Korea) and Maggioli (Italy).

Research results and predictions

  • According to Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totalled 59.7 million units in the second quarter of 2023, a 16.6% decrease from the second quarter of 2022.
  • According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.7 trillion in 2023, an increase of 4.3% from 2022.
  • According to IDC, worldwide revenue for the public cloud services market totalled $545.8 billion in 2022, an increase of 22.9% over 2021. Software as a service – applications continued to be the largest source of public cloud services revenue, accounting for more than 45% of the total in 2022. Infrastructure as a service was the second-largest revenue category, with 21.2% of the total, while platform as a service and software as a service and system infrastructure software delivered 17% and 16.7% of overall revenue respectively.
  • According to IDC, global PC shipments declined 13.4% year over year during 2Q23.
  • According to IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments declined 7.8% year-over-year to 265.3 million units in 2Q23.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Up 3.3%
  • FTSE100: Up 2.2%
  • DAX: Up 2%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 3.1%
  • S&P 500: Up 3%
  • Nasdaq: Up 3.8%
  • Nikkei225: Down 0.3%
  • Hang Seng: Up 5.3%
  • Shanghai: Up 2.3%

Final word

Forbes recently published its 2023 Global 200 list, a comprehensive examination of the world’s largest publicly traded companies using the metrics of sales, profit, assets and market value.

Included in the top 100 from a technology perspective are:

  • Alphabet at number seven (11 last year)
  • Microsoft at number nine (12 last year)
  • Apple at 10 (seven last year)
  • Verizon Communications at 21 (19 last year)
  • China Mobile at 25 (31 last year)
  • Meta Platforms at 31 (34 last year)
  • Tencent Holdings at 33 (28 last year)
  • Amazon at 36 (six last year)
  • Deutsche Telekom at 41 (66 last year)
  • Taiwan Semiconductor at 44 (57 last year)
  • Comcast at 51 (32 last year)
  • Alibaba Group at 54 (33 last year)
  • NTT at 56 (52 last year)
  • Sony at 57 (56 last year)
  • Oracle at 80 (115 last year)
  • Cisco at 93 (92 last year)

AT&T, IBM, Intel and Softbank have dropped out of the top 100.