Business

Now it’s France versus US in tech wars

Read time 6min 30sec

Ross Perot’s death, Cisco’s latest acquisition and Facebook’s $1 billion ‘fine’ dominated the international ICT market last week, while at home pronouncements re Cell C, and Datatec’s latest acquisition were the main stories.

Key local news

  • The acquisition by Datatec’s Logicalis of SA-based Mars Technologies, an IT services business.
  • The announcement by Cell C’s interim CEO that it is facing enormous challenges moving forward.
  • MTN and Vodacom claimed the top two positions in the Brand Finance South Africa 50 2019 as the most valuable and strongest South African brands.
  • The appointments of Setumo Mohapi (ex-SITA CEO) as Internet Solutions managing executive; and Moss Ngoasheng, previously non-executive chairman of Dimension Data South Africa, as deputy independent, non-executive chairman of Dimension Data MEA.
  • The departure of Saki Missaikos, managing director of Internet Solutions (moves elsewhere within NTT Group).

Key African news

  • Good year-end figures from Telekom Networks Malawi, with revenue up 15% and profit up 27%.
  • Commvault and DMP, specialists in complete solutions for safe and reliable data management, have entered into a strategic partnership for the EMEA region.
  • Maroc Telecom completed the acquisition of the entire share capital of Tigo Chad from Millicom.
  • A good IPO on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by Airtel Africa.
  • The appointment of Sammy Zoghlami as Nutanix’s senior vice-president of sales for the EMEA region.

Key international news

  • The acquisition by 4iG, a Hungarian IT services firm, of T-Systems Hungary. The deal covers T-Systems' large enterprise and public sector operations, with Magyar Telekom retaining the SME side of the business. Once the transaction closes, 4iG and Telekom will establish a long-term partnership, as T-Systems will continue to resell services from Magyar Telekom.
  • Aspen Technology bought Mnubo, a Canada-based provider of purpose-built artificial intelligence and analytics infrastructure for the Internet of things (IOT). To further enhance these capabilities, AspenTech has also acquired Sabisu, a UK-based company that provides a flexible enterprise visualisation and workflow solution to deliver real-time decision support.
  • The $2.84 billion acquisition by Cisco Systems of Acacia Communications, optical component maker.
  • Google bought Israeli-US company Elastifile, a provider of scalable enterprise storage for the cloud.
  • The EUR50 million acquisition by GTT Communications of Netherlands-based KPN International, a division of KPN NV.
  • The $4.9 million acquisition by Lantronix of Maestro & FALCOM, a leading supplier of wireless IOT products.
  • The £627 million acquisition by Macquarie-backed MEIF 6 Fibre of KCOM, the UK-based telecommunications firm.
  • Motorola Solutions purchased WatchGuard, a US leader in mobile video solutions.
  • Rigetti Computing bought QxBranch, a quantum computing software start-up.
  • The acquisition by RM of Australia-based SoNET Systems, a provider of software-as-a-service platforms principally to the education and government sectors.
  • The acquisitions by Smart Global Holdings of Artesyn Embedded Computing, the embedded computing business of Artesyn Embedded Technologies, and Inforce Computing, another embedded computing business.
  • A strategic partnership between Deutsche Telekom and Software AG to deliver IOT services on a global scale. Deutsche Telekom and its enterprise customer unit T-Systems will expand their cloud of things offering, using Software AG’s Cumulocity IOT platform. The partnership for “IOT made in Germany” allows both parties to make a bold play for an emerging multi-billion international market in IOT.
  • A French court cleared Orange chief executive Stephane Richard of any wrongdoing in a fraud trial, clearing the way for him to remain at the helm of that country’s biggest telecoms operator.
  • IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat.
  • France's Senate has given final approval to a tax on big technology companies, potentially opening a new front in a trade row between Washington and the European Union. The US president has ordered an investigation into France's planned tax on technology companies, a probe that could lead to the United States imposing new tariffs or other trade restrictions.
  • The announcement by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell that Facebook's plan to build a digital currency called Libra "cannot go forward" until serious concerns are addressed; comments that pressured the project and dented the price of the original crypto-currency Bitcoin.
  • T-Mobile is to replace Red Hat in the S&P 500 index.
  • The Federal Trade Commission voted to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy missteps.
  • Good quarterly numbers from HFCL (India), Largan Precision and Tata Consultancy Services.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from CSI and Infosys.
  • Satisfactory half-year numbers from RM.
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Televisa.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Sophos, with revenue up but net income down.
  • Mixed half-year figures Amino Technologies and Micro Focus, with revenue down but net income up.
  • Mixed year-end figures from Adept Technology Group, with revenue up but net income down.
  • A half-year loss from K3 Business Technology Group.
  • The appointments of Larry Culp as CEO of GE Digital; Andrew Howard as CEO of Kudelski Security; David Rowland as executive chairman of Accenture (was interim CEO); and Julie Sweet as CEO of Accenture.
  • The departure of Rich Fennessy, CEO of Kudelski Security.
  • The death of Ross Perot, founder of EDS and Perot Systems; and Jeff Sessions, CEO of Red River, a solution provider.
  • A planned IPO from laptop computer maker Dynabook, a unit of Japan’s Sharp, planned for the fiscal year 2021.
  • A planned IPO from McAfee, possibly later this year.
  • An IPO filing for Nasdaq from DouYu, one of China’s top two video-game live-streaming platforms.
  • An IPO filing for the NYSE from Dynatrace, an application and cloud infrastructure monitoring software vendor.

Research results and predictions

Worldwide:

  • According to Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.74 trillion in 2019, an increase of 0.6% from 2018 and slightly down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 1.1% growth.
  • After two quarters of decline, the worldwide PC market grew 1.5% in the second quarter of 2019, says Gartner. Shipments totalled 63 million units, up from 62 million units in Q218.
  • According to IDC, preliminary results for the global traditional PC market, inclusive of desktops, notebooks and workstations, totalled 64.9 million units in 2Q19. Year-over-year growth during the quarter reached 4.7%, which was notably higher than expected.
  • According to SEMI, global sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by original equipment manufacturers are projected to drop 18.4% to $52.7 billion in 2019 from last year's historic high of $64.5 billion.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 0.5%
  • FTSE100: Down 0.6%
  • DAX: Down 2%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 1.5% (highest weekend close to date)
  • S&P 500: Up 0.7% (highest weekend close to date)
  • Nasdaq: Up 1% (highest weekend close to date)
  • Nikkei225: Down 0.3%
  • Hang Seng: Down 1.1%
  • Shanghai: Down 2.7%

Look out for:

International:

  • Surprises as the flood of quarterly results start to appear.

South Africa:

  • Further developments re the future of Cell C.

Final word

The UK’s Sunday Times has published its TopTrack100 for 2019, a listing of the UK’s largest private companies ranked by revenue. Included from a technology perspective are:

  • (19) Radius Payment Solutions, a fleet services provider (was 23)
  • (21) Westcoast, a technology distributor (no change)
  • (22) Rigby Group, a conglomerate that includes an IT services business (no change)
  • (41) Finastra, a financial software provider (was 32)
  • (52) M Group Services, an infrastructure services provider (was 59)
  • (65) Arqiva, a communications services provider (was 64)
  • (71) Laird, an electronics and technology specialist (new entrant)
  • (82) Paysafe, an online payment services provider (was 67)
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