Optis Wireless Technology takes bite out of Apple

A US jury has awarded the company and several related firms $300 million in damages after a second patent trial against Apple.
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NortonLifeLock’s acquisition of Avast and Accenture’s continued acquisition/investment activity were the highlights of a quiet international ICT market this month.

At home, it was also comparatively quiet.

Key local news

  • Allied Electronics has changed its name to Altron.
  • Inseego has sold the South African operations of its Ctrack telematics and asset tracking business to an affiliate of Convergence Partners for R528.9 million.
  • EOH has made a secondary listing on the A2X.
  • AAC Clyde Space, a Swedish space technology company, has established a subsidiary in SA.
  • Wahed, a halal fintech firm, has entered the South African market after receiving a regulatory licence from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, allowing the start-up to offer services locally.
  • Naspers Foundry has made a R120 million investment in Naked, an artificial intelligence-driven insurtech company.
  • Prosus has made a $194.2 million investment in Latin American start-up holding Movile.
  • The appointments of new CEOs/MDs at Simfy (Ayoba), Takealot, Telkom SA (designate), xneelo; and a new minister and deputy minister at the Department of Communications.
  • The deaths of Puleng Kwele, former CEO of Broadband Infraco, and Pakamile Pongwana, an ex-CEO of ICASA.

Key African news

  • Djibouti has become the latest African country after Ethiopia to open up its telecommunications industry to competition, after selling a 40% stake in the incumbent operator Djibouti Telecom and vowing to allow private operators to invest in the country.
  • Etisalat Group has acquired full ownership of the Etisalat Investment North Africa, having purchased the 8.7% stake it did not own ($505 million).
  • Mitsumi Distribution will open new offices in Cameroon, DRC, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, as well as another four fully-fledged offices in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon and Guinea by the end of the year.
  • The MTN Group will not resubmit a bid for a licence in Ethiopia and will also exit Syria immediately as it has become "intolerable" to operate there.
  • OPay, an Africa-focused digital payment start-up, has secured $400 million in its latest funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
  • The appointment of a new MD at Vodacom Tanzania.

Key international news

  • Accenture has acquired Germany-based LEXTA, a consulting firm specialising in IT benchmarking and IT sourcing advisory. It has also agreed to acquire Blue Horseshoe, a supply chain management and strategy consulting firm and systems integrator specialising in fulfilment and distribution solutions. It has also made investments, through Accenture Ventures, in Pipeline, a start-up that uses AI technology to increase financial performance by closing the gender equity gap; and ixlayer, a provider of technology-based solutions for diagnostic testing.
  • Altair bought S-FRAME Software, a structural analysis software platform used by engineers to evaluate a structure's ability to withstand external loads and meet design code requirements around the world.
  • Apax Funds purchased EveryAction and Social Solutions Global, which will be combined with SaaS provider CyberGrants to create a software platform for non-profit organisations.
  • Appian acquired Lana Labs, the developer of the LANA Process Mining Platform.
  • Argano bought aMind Solutions, a Salesforce partner.
  • Avaya purchased CTIntegrations, a specialised contact centre software development and system integration company.
  • Bentley Systems’ Seequent business unit acquired Imago, a developer of cloud-based software for the capture and management of geoscientific imagery.

The MTN Group will exit Syria immediately as it has become ‘intolerable’ to operate there.

  • CDW bought Focal Point Data Risk, a provider of cyber security services.
  • Clearlake Capital purchased Cornerstone OnDemand, a provider of talent management software ($5 billion).
  • Cognizant acquired some digital engineering assets from Hunter Technical Resources, a privately held digital engineering and project management agency.
  • Conga bought Contract Wrangler, a leader in applying AI and ML to understand the terms and obligations in contracts that impact revenue, risk and cost once the contract is executed.
  • Crossword Cybersecurity purchased UK-based Stega, a cyber security MSP.
  • Deloitte & Touche acquired aeCyberSolutions, the industrial cyber security business of Applied Engineering Solutions.
  • UK-based Flow Communications bought Capital Network Solutions, a Welsh MSP.
  • Guidewire Software has acquired HazardHub, a leading insurtech provider of API-driven property risk insights to the P&C insurance industry.
  • Hootsuite bought Heyday Technologies, an AI company that offers chatbots.
  • JPMorgan purchased Tavisca, an Indian technology platform for travel solutions.
  • Microsoft acquired Peer5, a company that provides live video-streaming.
  • UK-based Modern Networks bought Bridge Fibre, a fibre internet and telecoms services provider; and Response IT, an IT services MSP.
  • NCR purchased Foremost Business Systems, a point-of-sale and restaurant solutions provider.
  • NetGain Technologies acquired TruTechnology, a peer, in a mainly geographical expansion move.
  • Payscale bought CURO Compensation, a global leader in pay equity and compensation management technology.
  • PDFTron Systems purchased Solid Documents, a provider of best-in-class document reconstruction and archiving solutions embedded in blue-chip company internal software and in major commercial document applications such as Adobe's flagship PDF product line, Acrobat.
  • Peak Rock Capital acquired Amtech Software, a provider of enterprise resource planning software and technology services.
  • Roblox bought Guilded, a privately-held company focused on building a platform to connect gaming communities.
  • Scientific Games purchased Lightning Box, a content studio.
  • Sophos acquired Refactr, which develops and markets a versatile DevSecOps automation platform that bridges the gap between DevOps and cyber security.
  • Unity bought OTO, an AI-driven acoustic intelligence platform that can be leveraged to build and foster safer gaming environments with voice and text chat environments.
  • upGrad purchased KnowledgeHut, an edtech company that aims to equip the global workforce with the skills of the future through outcome-based immersive learning.
  • Veeva Systems acquired Learnaboutgmp, a leading provider of accredited GxP training for life sciences.
  • Workiva bought OneCloud, a next generation iPaaS provider.
  • XpertHR purchased Gapsquare, the provider of advanced people analytics software, which analyses and tracks pay disparity, pay equality and pay gap data.
  • Accel-KKR has agreed to acquire New Zealand-based Unimarket, a provider of procurement software and services.
  • Adobe will purchase, a cloud-based video collaboration platform ($1.27 billion).
  • Alight Solutions has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ConsumerMedical, a leading clinical advocacy and expert medical opinion company.
  • Altice Portugal has set up a new business named Infratower, to which it will transfer around 700 mobile towers. This move is part of a wider deal with Cellnex that will see Altice hand over the new tower unit to the infrastructure giant for around €209 million.
  • Anexinet has reached an agreement to acquire Light Networks, a communications-focused solution provider.
  • Apollo Global Management and Lumen Technologies have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lumen’s ILEC assets and all associated operations across 20 states ($7.5 billion).
  • Cisco will buy Epsagon, an Israeli application monitoring company ($500 million).
  • Comcast plans to nab Masergy Communications, a channel-first hybrid networking and SDN specialist.
  • Elastic has agreed to acquire Israel-based, a policy definition and enforcement platform.
  • Facebook's acquisition of Kustomer may hurt competition and boost its market power in online advertising, European Union anti-trust regulators have warned as they open a full-scale investigation into the deal.
  • Glimpse Group has acquired the assets of Augmented Reality Investments, an Australia-based company that provides AR software and services to the architecture, engineering and construction industry.
  • Inovalon has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an equity consortium led by Nordic Capital, and joined by Insight Partners as lead co-investor.
  • Marvell Technology has agreed to buy Innovium, a chip start-up ($1.1 billion).
  • Taiwan-based MPI has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based Celadon Systems, which specialises in ultra-high-performance probe cards.
  • NortonLifeLock will purchase UK-based Avast, a cyber security firm ($8.6 billion).
  • NTT Data has brought its everis business and its EMEA division under the same management to create EMEAL, and is a fundamental step towards operating as one NTT Data globally.
  • Onsemi will buy GT Advanced Technologies, a manufacturer of a key material used in chips for electric vehicles called silicon carbide ($415 million).
  • Partner Communications has offered to buy the business operations of smaller rival Marathon 018 Xfone.
  • Paymentus Holdings has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Payveris, a leading provider of cloud-based software that enables over 265 banks and credit unions to modernise and simplify bill pay, person-to-person and account-to-account money movement and fraud prevention through a unified platform.
  • Qualcomm has offered to buy automotive technology firm Veoneer ($4.6 billion).
  • Qualys has entered into an agreement to purchase TotalCloud, a cloud workflow management and no-code automation platform.
  • The Rakuten Group will acquire US-based Altiostar, an open virtual radio access network provider ($1 billion+).
  • Salesforce has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Servicetrace, a German robotic process automation software provider.
  • ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire France-based Mapwize, an indoor mapping and wayfinding company.
  • SGT Capital has agreed to buy Utimaco, a provider of cyber security and data intelligence services for the regulated critical infrastructure sector.
  • Square has agreed to acquire Australia-based Afterpay, an instalment payment company ($29 billion).
  • SK Hynix plans to turn Intel’s NAND memory and storage business into a standalone US-based company once its $9 billion acquisition of Intel’s NAND business closes. The firm will be headed by Robert Crooke, the SVP and GM of Intel’s NAND Products and Solutions Group.
  • The United Group, a provider of telecommunications services and media in Southeast Europe, has reached an agreement to acquire Wind Hellas, a Greek telecoms operator.
  • A US jury has awarded Optis Wireless Technology and several related companies $300 million in damages after a second patent trial against Apple, and a US judge has ruled that Alphabet's Google infringed five patents belonging to Sonos that concern smart speakers and related technology.
  • The US Federal Trade Commission has filed an amended complaint against Facebook, accusing it of breaking anti-trust law and illegally maintaining monopoly power.
  • Xiaomi will buy Deepmotion, an autonomous driving technology start-up.
  • Zynga has agreed to acquire China's StarLark, the creator of "Golf Rival" ($525 million).
  • The investments by Apollo Global Management in FirstDigital Telecom, a fibre-based carrier ($200 million) and FlexGen Power Systems, a provider of software and integration services for the global energy storage industry ($150 million).
  • The Carlyle Group has invested in Abrigo, a provider of regulatory compliance software for the financial services industry ($1 billion+).
  • The $100 million investment by customers and technology partners in Nozomi Networks, an industrial cyber security start-up.
  • The $300 million investment by South Korea-based Hanwha Systems in OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit satellite communications company.
  • TA Associates has invested in PDQ, a provider of IT asset management software for small and medium businesses.
  • The $1.2 billion investment by ValueAct in Fiserv, a financial tech and payments company.
  • Thoma Bravo and JMI Equity invested in Condeco Software, a global leader in workspace scheduling technology.
  • Warburg Pincus invested in A-lign, a provider of cyber security and compliance services.
  • The $230 million investment by Whale Rock Capital Management, TI Platform Management, Alpha Square Group and others in Talkdesk, a cloud services firm.
  • The investment led by Craft Ventures in SentiLink, the developer of an identity verification platform for financial institutions.
  • The investment led by SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 2 in Emeritus, an edtech platform used by some of the world’s top universities and other educational institutions for online courses ($650 million); and Adverity, a start-up that provides a data and analytics platform that gives insights into a company's marketing, sales and e-commerce performance ($120 million).
  • The investments led by Insight Partners in Apollo GraphQL, a software development start-up ($130 million); and Postman, the world’s leading API platform ($225 million).
  • The investment co-led by IVP and Insight Partners in TaxBit, a developer of crypto-currency tax and accounting automation software.
  • The investments led by Tiger Global in Dataiku, an AI infrastructure start-up ($400 million); and GoGuardian, a digital learning products maker start-up ($200 million).
  • The $100 million investment led by Triangle Peak Partners in Nozomi Networks, a cyber security start-up.
  • The appointments of new CEOs at Arctic Wolf, Barracuda Networks, Cerner and Redline Communications.
  • IPO filings from ForgeRock (NYSE), Freshworks (Nasdaq), GlobalFoundries (USA), SenseTime (Hong Kong), ThoughtWorks (Nasdaq) and Tracxn Technologies (India).
  • IPOs/listings from China Telecom (Shanghai), Krafton (South Korea), Nexters (Nasdaq) and PT (Indonesia).

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 1.9%
  • FTSE100: Up 1.6%
  • DAX: Up 2%
  • NYSE (Dow): Up 1.5% (all-time high reached during this period)
  • S&P 500: Up 2.6% (all-time high reached during this period)
  • Nasdaq: Up 3.1% (all-time high reached during this period)
  • Nikkei225: Up 1.3%
  • Hang Seng: Down 2.1%
  • Shanghai: Up 3.7%

Research results and predictions

According to IDC:

  • Worldwide revenue for the AI market, including software, hardware and services, is estimated to grow 15.2% year-over-year in 2021, to $341.8 billion.
  • Worldwide spending on big data and business analytics solutions is forecast to reach $215.7 billion this year, an increase of 10.1% over 2020.
  • The MEA personal computing devices market experienced year-on-year growth of 5% in the second quarter of 2021.
  • Worldwide shipments of PCs are expected to grow 14.2% to 347 million units in 2021.

Look out for:

  • Facebook selling GIF-maker Giphy on UK competition concerns.
  • Western Digital and Kioxia merging.

Final word

Fortune magazine recently published its 2021 Global 500 listing. The following are some of the highlights from a technology perspective:

  • Newcomers included Jabil Circuit, Netflix and Synnex.
  • Returnees included Ericsson, Flex and SK Hynix.
  • Largest place gainers included Alibaba, Lenovo, Tencent, TSMC and Xiaomi.
  • Largest place losers included Canon and Softbank.
  • TechData was the only casualty (it is in the process of being acquired by Synnex).
See also