Qualcomm buys HP patents

The company acquired about 1 400 patents, including those of Palm and the iPaq smartphone.

Read time 6min 50sec

The Lenovo acquisition of IBM's low-end server business, and HP's offloading to Qualcomm of a significant patent portfolio, dominated the international ICT world last week.

At home, the numerous rumours regarding Telkom SA, including a possible divestment of its towers, took pride of place during a quiet week from a local ICT perspective.

Key local news of the past week

* Mediocre interim numbers from Ellies, with revenue down 3.8% and profit down 40.9%.
* A positive trading update from Adapt IT.
* A negative trading update from Jasco.
* Jasco disposed of its automotive business, in a deal valued at R12.6 million.
* Pinnacle Technology Holdings has changed its name to Pinnacle Holdings.
* Vincent Mokholo was appointed non-executive chairman of Huge Group (was executive chairman).

Key African news

* RentWorks, SA's largest computer equipment rental firm, has expanded into Namibia via the acquisition of Namibia-based Corporation Equipment Rentals.
* The appointments of Phillipe Baudin as CEO of Orange Botswana; and Elisabeth Medou-Badang as CEO of Orange Cameroun (was CEO of Orange Botswana).

Key international news

China has developed its own Linux-based smartphone operating system.

* Accenture acquired ClientHouse, a cloud computing services provider.
* AOL bought Gravity, a company that tailors content according to the reader's interest, for $83 million.
* Lenovo purchased IBM's low-end (x86) server unit for $2.3 billion, in a move that is China's largest-ever technology deal. Dell and Fujitsu were also interested in buying this unit from IBM.
* Qualcomm acquired a significant number (about 1 400) of patents from HP, including those of Palm and its iPaq smartphone.
* Verizon Communications bought Intel's Internet TV service, Intel Media.
* VMware purchased AirWatch, a cloud software maker, for $1.54 billion.
* Yahoo acquired Cloud Party, a browser-based game creation engine.
* Carl Icahn has invested in eBay, and is pressing for the latter's PayPal unit to be spun off.
* Apple won two summary judgments against Samsung, with its auto-correct and multimedia synchronisation patents. This bodes well for the former ahead of the mediation talks between the two companies, which are scheduled to start in March.
* The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by SAP regarding a $391 million patent judgment involving Versata Software.
* Cadence Design Systems and Berkeley Design Automation have settled their lawsuit.
* China has developed its own Linux-based smartphone operating system.
* CenturyLink's data hosting company, Savvis, has been renamed CenturyLink Technology Solutions.
* Very good quarterly figures from AMD (back in the black), ASML and Netflix.
* Good quarterly numbers from Adtran, Cree, eBay, Honeywell International, Informatica, Juniper Networks, SanDisk, Teradyne (back in the black) and Xilinx.
* Satisfactory year-end figures from Saudi Telecom.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Amphenol, Fairchild Semiconductor (back in the black), KLA-Tencor, Logitech International (back in the black), Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, SAP, Texas Instruments, United Microelectronics, Verizon Communications (back in the black) and Western Digital.
* Mediocre quarterly results from CA Technologies, Compuware and Xerox.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Altera, with revenue up but profit down; Avnet, with revenue up but profit down; F5 Networks, with revenue up but profit down; IBM, with revenue down but profit up; LG Display, with revenue up but profit down; Maxim Integrated Products, with revenue up but profit down; Open Text, with revenue up but profit down; and Samsung, with revenue up but profit down.
* Quarterly losses from Applied Micro Circuits, Cypress Semiconductor, Nokia and Polycom.
* The appointment of Inaki Berroeta (ex-CEO of Vodafone Romania) as CEO of Vodafone Hutchinson Australia.
* The resignation of Bill Morrow, CEO of Vodafone Hutchinson Australia.
* A possible IPO in London by BC Partners of Phones4U, a rival of Carphone Warehouse.

Look out for

International:

* The possible spin-off by Vivendi of its SFR unit to Numericable, France's largest cable company. Numericable had a successful IPO at the end of 2013.
* The outcome of the Intellectual Ventures/Google patent trial that started last week.

South Africa:

* The possible disposal by Telkom of its towers business.

Research results and predictions

* The Internet of Everything could generate R152.58 billion in value for SA's public sector over the next decade, according to Cisco.
* Samsung retained its position as the top global semiconductor customer in 2013, according to Gartner.
* Digital PC and Mac video game revenue will top $24 billion by 2017, according to IDC.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 0.5%
* Nasdaq: Down 1.7%
* NYSE (Dow): Down 3.5%
* S&P500: Down 2.6%
* FTSE100: Down 2.4%
* Top SA share movements: Adapt IT (+18.1%), ConvergeNet Holdings (-16%), Huge Group (+6.7%), Naspers (-6.5%), Reunert (-6.2%) and Silverbridge Holdings (-44.5%)

Final word

2013 was an excellent year for IPOs, with the number of listings up over 50% from 2012. In this regard, technology was one of the top three sectors involved, along with healthcare and finance.

Some of the most successful IPOs in 2013 were those of CommScope, Covisint, Intelsat, Kofax, Tableau Software and Twitter.

In 2014, the potential list is growing fast and includes:
* Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company that ditched its plans last year to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is now planning for one on one of the New York exchanges. The company's shareholders include SoftBank and Yahoo, and it has annual revenue in excess of $5 billion.
* Arista Networks, a rival to Cisco, was founded to deliver software-defined cloud networking solutions for large data centre and high-performance computing environments. With more than one million cloud networking ports being deployed worldwide, Arista delivers a portfolio of 1/10/40 and 100GbE products that redefine network architectures, bring extensibility to networking, and dramatically change the price/performance of data centre networks. Its evaluation is about $3.5 billion and last year had revenue of over $300 million.
* Box, a cloud-based content sharing platform that allows individuals and companies to access content from anywhere. It allows users to store files on the cloud, access them from any computer or device, and even share projects with others. The service has over 20 million users, including 180 000 businesses. It offers four different pricing plans, ranging from the free service to a customised enterprise package, with unlimited online storage. The company is currently valued at well over $1 billion.
* Nutanix, a company founded in 2009, delivers Web-scale IT infrastructure to medium and large enterprises with its software-driven Virtual Computing Platform, natively converging compute and storage into a single solution to drive unprecedented simplicity in the data centre. Customers can start with a few servers and scale to thousands, with predictable performance and economics. With a patented elastic data fabric and consumer-grade management, Nutanix is the blueprint for application-optimised and policy-driven infrastructure. The company is already valued at over $1 billion.
* Square, a mobile payment company that offers mobile options to facilitate making and receiving payments. Its signature products are Square Register and Square Wallet. Its value has been estimated at well over $3 billion and has surpassed a $6 billion annual run rate on transactions.
* Spotify, the provider of a free music streaming service and a competitor to Pandora. Unlike its rivals, it offers users the ability to listen to the specific songs they want to hear, create playlists with those songs, or choose the option of a genre-based radio. For a low monthly fee, users can also use the ad-free version of the service and listen on the go. Spotify's value is estimated at over $5 billion and its revenue last year rose 128% to $577.5 million, although it is yet to make a profit.

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