IBM names head honcho

Arvind Krishna takes over from Ginni Rometty as CEO of IBM. Rometty has retired, but will stay on as chairman of the company.
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The naming of a new CEO at IBM dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, Cell C news was still in the spotlight.

Key local news of the past week

  • Satisfactory quarterly figures from MiX Telematics, with revenue up 4.3% and profit up 25.6%.
  • An interim loss from Ellies, with revenue down 2.3%.
  • GoDaddy acquired South African social content start-up Over.
  • CompuKids IT Varsity bought Xander Apps, the home of early childhood development educational apps.
  • Cell C has missed the December interest payment on a $184 million loan, as well as capital plus interest payments on loan facilities.
  • Net1 has agreed to sell KSNET, a leading South Korean payment processor, to Stonebridge Capital and Payletter for approximately $237 million.
  • Sebata Holdings has entered into a sale of shares agreement and a loan agreement with USC Metering for the disposal of 100% of the total issued share capital in IPES Utility Management Services to USC, for a purchase consideration of R43 million.

Key African news

  • Mixed quarterly figures from Airtel Africa, with revenue up 12.8% but profit down 20.9%.
  • MTN has committed a R23 billion fresh capital investment in Nigeria over the next three years to strengthen and expand its network in the West African country. MTN Nigeria accounts for a third of the group’s core profit and the telco has over 60.3 million subscribers in the country.
  • The Vodafone Group has struck a preliminary deal to sell its 55% stake in its Egyptian unit to Saudi Arabia's largest telecoms operator, STC, for $2.39 billion.

Key international news

  • Comcast acquired Blueface, an Ireland-based global technology provider and leader in unified communications solutions.
  • Erie Street Capital bought Performance Improvement Partners, an IT consultancy.
  • Imprivata, a Thoma Bravo company and a provider of digital identification software for the healthcare industry, purchased GroundControl Solutions, a provider of cloud-based automation software specialising in Apple devices. The deal was worth $554 million.
  • Brazil-based Linx, a leader and specialist in retail software, acquired PinPag, which offers customised and disruptive instalment solutions for retail services in different segments, with an outstanding leadership among dispatchers and driving schools.
  • Sea’s digital entertainment arm, Garena, has acquired Phoenix Labs, an acclaimed independent games development company.
  • Teleo Capital Management bought Industrial Defender, a provider of cyber security software, from Capgemini America.
  • Xerox purchased Arena Group, a provider of office technology, software and services solutions in the UK.

Cell C has missed the December interest payment on a $184 million loan.

  • Accenture has signed an agreement to acquire the Workday, Salesforce and MuleSoft practices from Sierra-Cedar.
  • Altice Europe has offered to buy Israeli firm Partner Communications, the telecoms and media group controlled by Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi.
  • Avast will close its Jumpshot data analytics business.
  • Comtech Telecommunications has agreed to acquire Gilat Satellite Networks in a deal valued at $532.5 million.
  • Dover has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Soft-Pak, a leading independent provider of integrated back-office, route management and customer relationship management software solutions to the waste and recycling fleet industry.
  • Facebook will pay $550 million to resolve claims it collected user biometric data without consent, in one of the largest consumer privacy settlements in US history.
  • Mexico’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Telecommunications Institute, has issued a fine of about $69.5 million against the country’s biggest mobile operator, America Movil.
  • ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire Passage AI, a conversational AI platform company.
  • Global content intelligence solutions company Amplexor and Genpact, a global professional services firm focused on delivering digital transformation, have formed a strategic partnership between.
  • A jury has ordered Apple and Broadcom to pay $1.1 billion to the California Institute of Technology for infringing WiFi technology patents in what is thought to be one of the largest patent verdicts ever.
  • A federal jury has called for VMware to pay $236 million to Densify, a Canadian software company, for infringing on two of its patents for virtualisation technology.
  • Very good quarterly figures from AMD, DynaTrace (back in the black), Limelight Networks (back in the black), Mellanox, Mitek Systems (back in the black) and ServiceNow.
  • Good quarterly numbers from CACI International, Cirrus Logic, EA, Fair Isaac, Lam Research, Mastercard, Mercury Systems, Microsoft, Tetra Tech and Visa.
  • Satisfactory quarterly results from ADP, Amazon, Apple, Bharti Infratel, Charter Communications, Facebook, General Dynamics, MicroStrategy, MKS Instruments, NetScout Systems (back in the black), OpenText, OSI Systems, Qorvo, Roper Technologies, SAP and Verizon Communications.
  • Satisfactory half-year numbers from Newmark Security.
  • Mediocre quarterly results from Alliance Data Systems, Aspen Technology, AT&T, BT Group, Corning, Cypress Semiconductor, eBay, Envista Holdings, TE Connectivity and Xilinx.
  • Mixed quarterly figures from Booz Allen Hamilton, Bottomline Technologies, CGI Group, Digital International, F5 Networks, Juniper Networks, PayPal, Samsung Electronics, Silicon Labs and Tech Mahindra, with revenue up but net income down; and from Dover, Flex (but back in the black), KPN (but back in the black), Kulicke & Soffa, Maxim Integrated Products, Rambus, Sanmina and Xerox, with revenue down but net income up.
  • Quarterly losses from Agilysys, AudioCodes, Celestica, CommVault Systems, Cree, Extreme Networks, Intermap Technologies, LG Display, MACOM Technology Solutions, Proofpoint, SK Hynix, Sprint, Tessco Technologies and Western Digital.
  • The appointment of Arvind Krishna as CEO of IBM.
  • The resignation of Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO of Wipro.
  • The retirement of Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM (stays on as chairman).
  • The departure of Randy Freer, CEO of Hulu.

Research results and predictions

South Africa:

  • Overall IT spending in SA is set to reach $26.4 billion this year, up 2.5% on 2019, according to IDC.


  • Middle East and North Africa smartphones growth is predicted to be at 5.9% in 2020, according to Gartner.
  • The EMEA traditional PC market grew 5.7% in Q419 and totalled 20 million units, according to IDC.


  • Worldwide, smart device shipments are expected to reach three billion in 2023, according to Canalys. These include smartphones, desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, wearable bands, smart speakers and smart personal audio devices.
  • Worldwide sales of smartphones to end-users are on track to reach 1.57 billion units in 2020, an increase of 3% year-over-year, according to Gartner. In 2019, worldwide smartphone sales declined 2%, the first time since 2008 that the global smartphone market experienced a decline. Sales of 5G mobile phones are forecast to reach 221 million units in 2020, which will account for 12% of overall mobile phone sales and more than double in 2021, to 489 million units.
  • Worldwide shipments of three-dimensional scanners will be more than 635 million units in 2023, with a CAGR of 21.2% over the 2019-2023 forecast period, according to IDC. The total value of these shipments will be nearly $3 billion in 2023, with a five-year CAGR of 15.8%.
  • Worldwide smartphone shipments decreased 1.1% year-over-year in 4Q19, according to IDC. While the past several years have delivered flat growth, 2019 volumes dropped to levels below annual shipment levels between 2015 and 2018. In total, companies shipped a 368.8 million smartphones during 4Q19, which was up 2.9% from the previous quarter.
  • The worldwide tablet market declined 0.6% year-over-year during 4Q19, as global shipments fell to 43.5 million units, according to IDC. For the full year 2019, the tablet market shrank 1.5% as global shipments totalled 144 million units.

Stock market changes

  • JSE All share index: Down 2.7%
  • FTSE100: Down 4%
  • DAX: Down 4.4%
  • NYSE (Dow): Down 2.5%
  • S&P 500: Down 2.1%
  • Nasdaq: Down 1.8%
  • Nikkei225: Down 2.6%
  • Hang Seng: Down 5.9%
  • Shanghai: No change

Look out for


South Africa:

  • Further developments regarding Cell C.

Final word

  • The pace of change in the IT landscape is only looking to accelerate as we continue into 2020. Some of the transformational trends to expect this year are in familiar categories – such as cloud computing, hyper-convergence, artificial intelligence and the Internet of things – but with new areas of innovation and opportunity to consider.
  • Other emerging IT trends ahead in 2020 revolve around new generations of technology, such as high-speed 5G connectivity, which the industry will only begin to see in a major way this year. The evolution of the cloud, data centre, mobility, networking and security will all continue unabated in 2020, but the specific trends to watch are not always obvious. These are CRN’s picks for 10 emerging IT trends to watch out for this year:
  • Fewer silos in the cloud. Cloud computing is entering a phase of standardisation and increased compatibility. Cloud infrastructure – public, hosted private and on-premises – is increasingly less siloed, allowing workloads to be more portable and data streams more mobile.
  • Enterprises change their data centre strategy. A key trend to watch is how much enterprise IT spending moves away from the traditional data centre infrastructure. For the first time, enterprises are spending more money annually on cloud infrastructure services than on data centre hardware and software, according to recent data from Synergy Research Group.
  • The hybrid, multi-cloud world has a foundation with hyper-converged. The move to hybrid and multi-cloud could help to drive hyper-converged infrastructure sales in a big way in 2020, which are becoming the "backbone" of the multi-cloud world, according to Eric Sheppard, research VP, infrastructure platforms and technologies at IDC.
  • Industrial, automotive sectors to drive IOT data growth. IOT continues to become increasingly important as a way for companies to share information between things, people and processes. By 2025, the total amount of annual data created by IOT devices is expected to reach 79.4 zettabytes, according to research firm IDC, and that 41.6 billion connected devices are expected to collect, store and analyse in the next six years.
  • Enterprise networking goes wireless-first. 2020 is shaping up to be a momentous year in enterprise networking. WiFi 6, which will work together with 5G, will have its first full year on the market to show enterprises throughput of up to four times faster than previous technologies allowed. Wired connections were the primary – and only realistic – connectivity option for businesses for years. Improvements in wireless technology have made it so newer wireless technology, such as WiFi 6, is making wireless a viable primary offering for many enterprises and business locations.
  • 5G devices arrive en masse. While 5G smartphones steadily hit the market in 2019, phones that support high-speed 5G connectivity are expected to hit the mainstream in 2020.
  • IOT/Edge computing gets a boost from 5G roll-out. The arrival of 5G is expected to help enable the sorts of real-time data analytics services and other applications at the edge that many businesses are seeking.
  • A key year for AI adoption. There will be no slowdown in the push to expand artificial intelligence solutions in 2020. A recent report by IDC said global spending for AI systems will reach $97.9 billion in 2023, a massive increase from $37.5 billion last year. This means 2020 will be a critical year to set the tone for the next wave of innovation in the AI space.
  • MSPs under attack. Managed service providers are no longer just trusted security advisors when it comes to protecting businesses from attackers – MSPs themselves are now frequently becoming the initial target. That means MSPs will need to dramatically step up their game around security in 2020.
  • New privacy regulations drive spending. The arrival of strict regulations around user data privacy is leading to an uptick in demand for solutions to help ensure compliance with the privacy laws.
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