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BlackBerry's African moves

Research In Motion opens the first official BlackBerry-branded retail store in Lagos, Nigeria.

Read time 6min 50sec

There were no outstanding events in the international ICT world during the last two weeks despite several acquisitions involving some of the major players.

At home, the news from Gijima re the resignation of its CEO, and the direct entry into SA by Trend Micro, were the main local stories.

Key local news of the past two weeks

Microsoft will be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of Web browsers.

Paul Booth, MD, Global Research Partners

* A quarterly loss from Telemasters, with revenue also well done.
* An interim loss from Altech, with revenue up 6.8%.
* Very good year-end figures from Jasco Electronics, with revenue up 28.1% and profit up 47.9%.
* Mixed year-end figures from Digicore, with revenue up 19% but profit down 45%.
* A full-year loss from Gijima, with revenue also down slightly; and Silverbridge Holdings, with revenue also down significantly.
* A positive trading update from Datacentrix Holdings and Poynting Holdings.
* A negative trading update from Altron, ConvergeNet Holdings and Telkom SA.
* The R175 million acquisition by MineRP Solutions (Australia) of MineRP Africa, a subsidiary of Gijima.
* The acquisition by Mxit of Motribe, a mobile community specialist.
* The creation of a new Nashua Communications unit from the merger of Nashua Comms and Nashua ECN, two key business units in the Reunert group that will be headed up by the current Nashua ECN MD, Andy Openshaw.
* The appointments of Yoshio Abe as managing director of Toshiba's Southern African operations; Gregory Anderson as SA country manager of Trend Micro; Johan Basson as CEO of Bytes Document Solutions; and, Keith Edmond as CEO of Aberdare Cable, part of Altron's Powertech Technologies.
* The resignation of Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of Gijima.

Key African news

* The disposal by Altech of its 75% shareholding in Altech West Africa.
* BlackBerry smartphone maker, Research In Motion, has opened the first official BlackBerry-branded retail store in Lagos, Nigeria, as part of its African business expansion plans.
* The appointments of Michel Barr'e as CEO of Orange Madagascar; Jean-Luc Boh'e as CEO of Orange Mali; Graham Braum as country manager of Lenovo Africa; Brelotte Ba as CEO of Orange Niger; Didier Charvet as CEO of Orange Tunisia; Nathalie Clere as deputy CEO of Mauritius Telecom; Lenore Kerrigan as sales director for Open Text Sub-Saharan Africa; Emma Murray as SVP Africa for Software AG; and Alioune Ndiaye as CEO of Sonatel (Senegal).

Key international news

* Brightstar bought UK-based Mobile Phone Xchange, a device buy-back and trade business.
* Cisco purchased ThinkSmart Technologies, an Irish WiFi location player.
* The $2.4 billion acquisition by Crown Castle International of the cellular towers owned by T-Mobile USA.
* The $110 million acquisition by Cypress Semiconductor of Ramtron International, a memory chipmaker.
* Ericsson bought ConceptWave Software, a Canadian telecommunications software provider.
* Garmin purchased Nexus Marine AB, a company that specialises in designing, manufacturing and distribution of navigation instruments for racing and cruising yachts.
* Google acquired Nik Software, the company behind the popular photo-editing application Snapseed; a similar application to Instagram, a company that was recently bought by Facebook.
* The acquisition by IBM of Butterfly Software, a UK-based data analysis and migration software company.
* Lenovo bought Stoneware, in a move planned to enhance and expand the former's cloud computing solutions.
* The $22.5 million acquisition by Nuance Communications of Ditech Networks, a small voice recognition specialist.
* The acquisition by Nuance Communications of Quantim, the Health Information Management business of QuadraMed, a provider of information technology solutions for the healthcare industry.
* Oracle purchased SelectMinds, a provider of recruiting software.
* The $48.3 million acquisition by Tech Mahindra of 51% of Comviva, a mobile phone software maker.
* The $644 million (10%) investment by Sony in Olympus.
* The disposal by Time Warner Cable of its stake in the WiMax to LTE network operator, Clearwire.
* Microsoft won a patent lawsuit worth $61.4 million against Motorola Mobility over the use of software-based keyboards in its phones.
* Microsoft will be charged for failing to comply with a 2009 ruling ordering it to offer a choice of Web browsers, which could mean a hefty fine for the company. Microsoft's 10+ year battle with the European Commission has already landed it with fines totalling more than EUR1 billion.
* Taiwan-based AU Optronics has been fined $500 million by a US judge for the price fixing of liquid crystal display panels.
* Good quarterly numbers from Tibco Software.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Accenture and Adobe.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Progress Software.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Jabil Circuit, with revenue up but profit down; Oracle, with revenue down but profit up; and Red Hat with revenue up but profit down.
* Quarterly losses from Micron Technology and Research In Motion (revenue also down over 30%).
* The appointments of Luis Alvarez as CEO of BT Global Services; Mike Aquino as president and CEO of Overture; Ben Gituku as chairman of the Communications Commission of Kenya; John Legere as CEO of T-Mobile USA; Alex Mei as interim CEO of OCZ Technology Group; and Virginia Rometty as chairman of IBM (she is currently also CEO).
* The resignations of Manouch Moshayedi, CEO of STEC; and Ryan Petersen, president and CEO of OCZ Technology Group.
* A satisfactory IPO on Nasdaq by Qualys, a security specialist.

Look out for:

* International:
* The possible acquisition by Batelco (Bahrain) of the Monaco and Islands business unit of Cable & Wireless Communications.
* The possible investment by Intel in Sharp that could make the former its largest stakeholder.
* The fate of Telecom Italia's media unit, which is likely to be acquired by a private equity group.

* South Africa:
* The appointment of a new COO at Altech to replace Jeffrey Hedberg, who left the company some time ago.

Research results and predictions

* According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 19.6% in 2012 to total $109 billion.
* The worldwide forecast for tablet devices in 2012 is up to 117.1 million units, an increase from IDC's previous forecast of 107.4 million units.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 2.2%
* Nasdaq: Down 2.1%

Final word

The Wall Street Journal has published its third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies and shows a crop of contenders that overall are focused less on online consumers than in years past.

Unlike previously, none of the companies on this year's list are in the energy sector, underscoring the challenges faced by that industry. This year was also the first time that a healthcare company didn't top the rankings.

From a technology perspective, the following are of particular note:

1. Genband, a supplier of voice over Internet Protocol technology to telecom companies.
2. Xirrus, a provider of wireless networking equipment.
3. Tabula, a maker of semiconductors for electronic products.
5. SpiderCloud Wireless, a provider of indoor mobile broadband networking gear for wireless operators.
6. DocuSign, a provider of Web-based services for delivery and signing of documents.
11. Zenprise, a provider of mobile management software.
12. Plexxi, a provider of enterprise and cloud data centre technologies.
20. Marketo, a business analytics software provider.
26. Nimble Storage, a data storage company.
29. Appirio, a cloud-computing services provider.
37. Aerohive Networks, a wireless networking company.

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