Columnists

Mike Lynch faces criminal charges

The US Justice Department has filed charges accusing Lynch, who founded Autonomy, of financial fraud.

Paul Booth.
Paul Booth.

The filing of criminal charges against Mike Lynch regarding the Autonomy/HP deal was the main story of the international ICT market last week.

At home, the IITPSA awards took pride of place in the local ICT market.

Key local news

* Satisfactory interim figures from the Huge Group, with revenue up 8.4% and profit up 100.9%; and Naspers, with revenue up 7.7% and profit up 226.5%.
* An interim loss from Etion Holdings, with revenue down 14.4%.
* A positive trading update from the Huge Group.
* Teddy Daka, CEO of JSE AltX-listed Etion, has been named the IITPSA's IT Personality of the Year for 2018; and Jacques Barkhuizen, Absa CIO for virtual channels/digital banking, as the Visionary CIO for 2018.
* A renewed JSE cautionary by Stella Capital Partners.

Key African news

* The Namibia Telecom board has suspended its chief executive, Theo Klein.

Key international news

* Digital camera maker Ability Enterprise acquired AndroVideo, an artificial intelligence camera developer.
* ACE Equity Partners bought Daeho Tech, a medium-sized optical equipment firm in South Korea, in a management buyout deal worth $356.8 million.
* Allianz Capital Partners, AXA Investment Managers and OMERS Infrastructure purchased SFR FTTH, Altice Europe's French fibre network business, for EUR1.8 billion (49.99%).
* Amphenol acquired SSI Controls Technologies, the sensor manufacturing division of SSI Technologies, for more than $400 million.
* Corel bought Parallels, a cross-platform virtualisation technology developer.
* Eaton purchased Turkey-based Ulusoy Elektrik, which provides power equipment for distribution networks and industrial plants.
* Hewlett Packard Enterprise acquired BlueData, a leading provider of software that transforms how enterprises deploy artificial intelligence and big data analytics.
* Juniper Networks bought HTBASE, which has developed a unique and disruptive platform for software-defined enterprise multi-cloud.
* App distribution firm MoMagic Technologies purchased mobile app insight provider AdGyde Solutions from its joint venture partner Spice Mobility.
* Neustar acquired TrustID in a move designed to strengthen its authentication and fraud prevention capabilities around outbound calling and clients using digital channels.
* NTT Data bought a 55.35% stake in Atom Technologies, a payments fintech firm.
* Paychex purchased Oasis Outsourcing, the US's largest privately owned professional employer organisation and an industry leader in providing human resources outsourcing services.
* Red Hat acquired NooBaa, an early stage company developing software for managing data storage services across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
* Shopify bought Tictail, an e-commerce platform focused on smaller brands.
* Tango Networks purchased UK-based Simetric Telecom, giving enterprises a global communications fabric covering all employees in any location.

The Namibia Telecom board has suspended its chief executive.

* Tata Consultancy Services acquired BridgePoint Group, a US management consulting firm.
* BlackRock made a $122.8 million investment (4.9%) in Envestnet, a major provider of technology to financial advisors.
* Connector and cable maker Sinbon Electronics invested nearly a 10% stake in Nextronics Engineering, a maker of connectors for industrial computing and optical communication devices.
* A US appeals court upheld a roughly $140 million jury verdict in favour of Sprint in its lawsuit accusing Time Warner Cable, part of Charter Communications, of using patented technology without authorisation.
* Russia has launched a civil case against Google, accusing it of failing to comply with a legal requirement to remove certain entries from its search results.
* British tech executive and investor Mike Lynch is facing criminal charges in the US over his role in Hewlett-Packard's disastrous $11 billion acquisition of UK software firm Autonomy in 2011.
* Logitech has dropped its acquisition talks with Plantronics.
* British and Dutch regulators have fined Uber for failing to protect customers' personal information during a 2016 cyber attack involving millions of users.
* Microsoft's stock market value closed above Apple for the first time in eight years, as the Windows maker benefited from growth in cloud computing while Apple was hit by investor concern about iPhone demand.
* Excellent quarterly results from StoneCo (back in the black).
* Very good quarterly figures from Pintec Technology (back in the black) and Weibo.
* Good quarterly numbers from Descartes Systems Group, Gold Circuits Electronics (back in the black), HP, i3 Verticals, IEC Electronics, Tech Data and Veeva Systems.
* Satisfactory nine-month numbers from Rocket Internet (back in the black).
* Mixed quarterly figures from American Software, Endava, Salesforce.com, Semtech, Sina and VMware, with revenue up but net income down; and from MTS Systems, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from Ambarella, Amtech Systems, Anaplan, Box, Dell, GameStop, iClick Interactive Asia Group, Nutanix, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk, Unizyx, Viomi Technology, voxeljet AG, Wind Tre, Workday, Yext and Zuora.
* The resignation of Till Reuter, CEO of Kuka.
* The departures of Michael Fey, president and COO of Symantec; and Rich Geruson, CEO of Lexmark.
* An IPO filing for Nasdaq from China-based Hitek Global, an IT consulting and solutions service provider.

Research results and predictions

EMEA/Africa:
* Africa's mobile phone market declined 2.1% quarter-on-quarter in Q318, according to IDC. Shipments for the quarter totalled 52.6 million units, with feature phone shipments falling 2.7% QOQ and smartphone shipments declining 1.3% over the same period.

Worldwide:
* According to Cisco's Visual Networking Index, global Internet Protocol traffic is expected to triple by 2022, reaching 4.8 zettabytes of traffic per year. In addition, the number of Internet users will increase to 60% (4.8 billion) of the global population by 2022, with 28 billion devices and connections expected to be online.
* The global market for mobile device management will grow by a CAGR of 22.9% over the next 10 years, to reach $15.9 billion by 2028, according to Future Market Insights.
* Worldwide shipments of wearable devices will reach 225 million in 2019, an increase of 25.8% from 2018, according to Gartner. End-user spending on wearable devices is forecast to reach $42 billion in 2019, of which $16.2 billion will be on smartwatches.
* The global semiconductor industry revenue grew 7.4% sequentially in Q318, reaching a record $129.8 billion, according to IHS Markit.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 0.1%
* FTSE100: Up 0.4%
* DAX: Up 0.6%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 5.2%
* S&P 500: Up 4.8%
* Nasdaq: Up 5.6%
* Nikkei225: Up 3.3%
* Hang Seng: Up 2.2%
* Shanghai: Up 0.3%

Look out for

International:
* Alliance Data Systems selling its Epsilon marketing services business.

South Africa:
* Further developments following the reunification of the government's ICT departments.

Final word

Each December, Fortune magazine chooses its Businessperson of the Year. It runs the numbers, weighing 10 financial metrics, including 12-month and 36-month increases in profit and revenue (it uses a three-year window to eliminate any companies that post a great year following a slump). It also weighs stock performance and total shareholder returns over the same period. Only then does it factor in those intangibles that separate so-so CEOs from the standouts, such as business influence, strategic vision and the impact of their leadership. The result is 20 businesspeople who delivered.

Included in the list are:

* Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware
* Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia
* Lisa Su, CEO of AMD
* Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe
* Hauteng 'Pony' Ma, CEO of Tencent
* Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
* Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal

This is my final column for 2018, although my review of the year will appear next week. My column will resume on 14 January 2019 and will fully cover the intervening period.

A big thank you to all my readers for your support this year. I wish you well over the festive season and a great and successful 2019.

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