Nvidia beats Intel to the chase

The company acquires its peer, Mellanox Technologies, for $6.9 billion, thwarting Intel's offer for Mellanox.

Paul Booth.
Paul Booth.

Another acquisition by Accenture and further developments in the Apple/Qualcomm battle were some of the highlights of the international ICT market last week.

At home, Huge's acquisition of Otel was one of the main stories.

Key local news

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Cognition, with revenue up 5.1% and profit up 0.8%.
* Mixed interim figures from Metrofile, with revenue up 7.5% but profit down 47.8%.
* A negative trading update from Metrofile Holdings.
* Huge and its wholly-owned subsidiaries acquired Otel for R43.5 million, culminating in the merger of Huge Networks and Otel.
* GoDaddy launched in SA. GoDaddy is a Web hosting company that will target the small and medium enterprise market.
* Altron has partnered with US-based analytics software developer SAS to target the South African public sector with its offerings.
* Oracle has issued a stern "no comment" to accusations that it hired a former senior national treasury official in order to secure a contract to supply software for a major overhaul of the South African government's core IT systems.
* A renewed JSE cautionary by the Huge Group.
* The appointment of Vukile Mehana as CEO of Sizwe Africa IT Group.

Key African news

* Maroc Telecom acquired Millicom's subsidiary Tigo Chad, continuing the latter's gradual exit from Africa in order to focus on Latin America.
* The appointment of Dario Debarbieri as Enterprise Outsourcing's CEO of its APAC region.

Key international news

* Accenture acquired Netherlands-based Storm Digital, a full service digital marketing agency specialising in search, social and programmatic advertising services that transforms customer experiences through strategic, technological, analytical and creative solutions.
* Australia-based Appen, a provider of human-annotated datasets for machine learning and artificial intelligence, bought US-based Figure Eight, a data annotation firm, for $300 million.
* Apple acquired Laserlike, a start-up specialising in machine learning technologies.
* Basalt Infrastructure Partners purchased Manx Telecom for £255.9 million.
* Boxlight acquired Modern Robotics, a science, technology, engineering and math education company.
* CGI bought Acando, a leading management and IT consulting services firm in Northern Europe and Germany.
* Ebix purchased India's largest corporate travel exchange, Yatra Online.
* F5, the global leader in multi-cloud application services, bought NGINX, an open source leader in application delivery.

Siemens filed the most patent applications in Europe last year.

* First Data purchased Software Express, a Brazilian-based leader in EFT solutions.
* HCL Technologies acquired US-based Strong-Bridge Envision, a digital consulting firm specialising in customer experience strategy, business transformation, and change management. The deal was worth $45 million.
* ID Systems bought Pointer Telocation, a leading provider of telematics and mobile IOT solutions.
* Motorola Solutions purchased Avtec, a leading US provider of advanced dispatch solutions for public safety and commercial customers.
* Nvidia acquired peer Mellanox Technologies for $6.9 billion, thwarting Intel's offer for the latter.
* Pintec Technology Holdings bought InfraRisk, a leading supplier of credit risk-related software and services in Australia.
* The Alibaba Group made a $693 million (14%) investment in STO Express, the giant's fourth significant investment in a Chinese courier company.
* Airtel's unit Nettle Infrastructure Investments made a 32% investment in Bharti Infratel.
* PayPal invested $750 million in Argentina-based MercadoLibre, a Latin American e-commerce and payments powerhouse.
* Global investment firm Franklin Templeton led a $150 million investment in Cloudflare, a US start-up whose software makes Web sites more secure and load faster.
* Microsoft has filed a suit against Foxconn parent company Hon Hai, alleging the latter failed to comply with a patent licensing agreement from 2013.
* A US federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments, though the decision is unlikely to result in Qualcomm writing a cheque to Apple because of other developments in the dispute.
* Spotify has filed a complaint to the anti-trust arm of the European Union, alleging that Apple, in recent years, has abused its control over which apps appear in its App Store.
* Qualcomm has won a legal victory against Apple, with a jury finding that Apple owes Qualcomm about $31 million for infringing three of its patents.
* Siemens filed the most patent applications in Europe last year, pushing China's Huawei into second place, according to the European Patent Office.
* Kaimei Electronic and Teapo Electronic have agreed to merge, with the new entity focusing on opportunities arising from the emerging 5G, automotive and IOT sectors.
* Excellent year-end revenue from OutSystems.
* Very good quarterly figures from Asure Software and Smith Micro Software.
* Very good year-end numbers from Yageo.
* Good quarterly numbers from Adobe, Allied Motion Technologies, Jabil, Rimini Street (back in the black) and Semtech (back in the black).
* Satisfactory quarterly results from AcBel Polytech, Avid (back in the black), China Unicom (back in the black), Delta Electronics, RadNet and Switch (back in the black).
* Satisfactory year-end figures from Avast.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Pegatron, Team and Vivotek.
* Mediocre year-end numbers from Capita.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Broadcom, with revenue up but net income down; and from Harte-Hanks (but back in the black) and Oracle (but back in the black), with revenue down but net income up.
* Mixed year-end figures from Computacenter, with revenue up but net income down.
* Quarterly losses from Cloudera, Cohu, Coupa Software, Domo, DocuSign, Everspin Technologies, GDS Holdings, Information Services Group, Lextar, MDC Partners, MongoDB, PC-Tel, Pinduoduo, Pivotal, Synacor, Synchronoss Technologies, UTStarcom, Windstream and Wireless Telecom Group.
* The appointments of Nazzic Keene as CEO of SAIC; James Sims as CEO of Airgain; and Ondrej Vlcek as CEO of Avast.
* The retirements of Tony Moraco, CEO of SAIC; and Vince Steckler, CEO of Avast.
* An IPO filing for the NYSE from African e-commerce 'unicorn' Jumia, a firm backed by MTN.

Research results and predictions

EMEA/Africa:
* IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa market is projected to reach $160 billion in 2019, a 1.8% increase from 2018, according to Gartner.
* The African smartphone market grew 2.3% in 2018 to total 88.2 million units, according to IDC, spurred by the strong performance of the continent's three biggest markets: Nigeria, SA and Egypt.
* The EMEA external storage systems market recorded another positive quarter in Q418, with 9.4% year-on-year growth, according to IDC.
* Egypt's mobile phone market saw shipments totalling 14.4 million in 2018, according to IDC, with shipments that were up 7.5% year-on-year. This marks a notable turnaround from the 20.6% decline seen in 2017.

Worldwide:
* Worldwide spending on artificial intelligence systems is forecast to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 44% over the amount spent in 2018, according to IDC.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Up 1%
* FTSE100: Up 1.7%
* DAX: Up 2%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 1.6%
* S&P 500: Up 2.9%
* Nasdaq: Up 3.8%
* Nikkei225: Up 2.2%
* Hang Seng: Up 2.8%
* Shanghai: Up 1.7%

Look out for

International:
* Google being hit with a third EU anti-trust fine.
* Buyout investor Baring Private Equity Asia acquiring NIIT Technologies for 1.2 billion.

Africa:
* MTN Group pushing ahead with an IPO of its Nigeria unit in April or May, once Africa's biggest wireless carrier resolves a $2 billion tax dispute in the country.

South Africa:
* Naspers spending about $1 billion in India this year, as it scours the globe for investments that can replicate its blockbuster bet on China's Tencent Holdings.
* Dimension Data's Middle East and Africa operations listing again on the JSE.

Final word

Fortune magazine recently published its 2019 list of the 100 best US companies to work for. Included, from a technology perspective, are:
* 2: Salesforce.com (was number one)
* 4: Workday (was number seven)
* 6: Cisco (was 48)
* 8: Ultimate Software (was three)
* 22: Adobe (was 26)
* 24: Intuit (was 13)
* 28: SAP America (no change)
* 38: Nvidia (was 30)
* 42: Dropbox (was 64)
* 49: T-Mobile US (was 86)
* 50: Red Hat (new entrant)
* 56: World Wide Technology (was 45)
* 60: SAS Institute (was 37)
* 61: Accenture (was 60)
* 70: Atlassian (new entrant)
* 71: Comcast (was 68)
* 73: Cadence Design Systems (was 38)
* 93: Box (new entrant)
* 94: Alliance Data Systems (was 82)
* 96: Activision Blizzard (new entrant)

AT&T, Autodesk and VMware have slipped out of the Top 100 since last year.

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