Facebook prepares to pay up

As the social networking giant admits to more privacy issues, it puts aside $3 billion for expected Federal Trade Commission fines.

Read time 10min 10sec

The Apple/Qualcomm legal settlement, further 'leakage' revelations by Facebook and Samsung's massive chip investment were the highlights of the international ICT market during the last two weeks.

At home, it has been very quiet.

Key local news of the past two weeks

* An interim loss from EOH, with revenue up only 0.9%.
* Acast, a global podcasting company, acquired Pippa, a podcast technology firm founded by South Africans based in the US.
* Dynamic Technologies bought IndigoCube, a software services provider.
* Sabvest made a 30% investment in Revix, a digital assets platform offering diversified crypto-currency bundles similar to index funds prevalent in mainstream investing.
* MiX Telematics, together with some other fleet telematics solution providers, has been charged by the Competition Commission for allegedly engaging in cartel conduct.
* The appointment of Sandra Crous as MD of PaySpace.

Key African news

* MTN Nigeria Communications has completed its conversion from a private company to a public company, which is a legal requirement and key milestone in the preparatory process for MTN's listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
* A new Nigerian business and technology solutions firm has been launched, called Verraki Partners. It is focused on implementing technology and business solutions designed inherently for Africa, while also curating business ventures to unlock new sources of growth across the continent.
* The appointment of Eddy Kapuku as MD of Airtel Madagascar.
* The departure of Maixent Bekangba, MD of Airtel Madagascar.

Key international news

* CalAmp acquired Synovia Solutions, a GPS fleet management software company.
* Coupa Software bought Exari, a leading provider of contract life cycle management.
* CPSI purchased Get Real Health, a provider of technology solutions to improve patient outcomes and engagement strategies with care providers.
* Equifax acquired PayNet, a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies.
* Equinix bought Switch Datacenters' AMS1 data centre business in the Netherlands for EUR30 million.
* Car-sharing platform Getaround purchased its French rival Drivy for $300 million.
* Intel acquired Omnitek, a UK-based programmable chip technology maker.
* UK-based Learning Technologies Group bought Breezy, a US-based HR business, for $30 million.
* Mastercard purchased Vyze, a fintech company that specialises in providing a wide range of payment options via its technology platform.
* Microsoft acquired Express Logic, which makes software for Internet of things (IOT) devices to accelerate IOT development for billions of devices at scale.
* PTC bought Factora, one of its systems integration partners.
* Publicis Groupe purchased Alliance Data Systems' Epsilon unit for $4.4 billion. Epsilon is a digital marketing firm, and the acquisition will propel the French advertising group further beyond a weakening conventional ad business in its biggest takeover yet.
* Quess acquired a majority stake (61%) in Allsec Technologies, a global provider of business process outsourcing services.

Apple and Qualcomm have settled their long-running legal dispute.

* Siris Capital Group bought EFI, a digital printing company, for $1.6 billion.
* Salesforce purchased Salesforce.org, the independent non-profit social enterprise, for $300 million.
* SHI International, a solution provider, bought Corporate Training Group in a move to better provide training to customers looking to better take advantage of SHI's professional services activities.
* Upland Software purchased the e-mail platform company PostUp for $35 million.
* British pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme acquired KCom, a UK telecommunications company, for £504 million.
* Xilinx bought Solarflare Communications, a privately held provider of high-performance, low latency networking solutions for customers spanning fintech to cloud computing.
* NXP Semiconductors invested in Hawkeye Technology, a Chinese self-driving technology company.
* PayPal made a $500 million investment in Uber.
* Softbank made a EUR900 million (5.6%) investment in Wirecard, the German payments company.
* SoftBank made a $125 million investment in Loon, Alphabet's venture to put cellphone antennas in the sky.
* Tencent invested in Argentine mobile banking service Uala, which also counts George Soros and Point72 Ventures among its investors.
* Apple and Qualcomm have settled their long-running legal dispute.
* American Tower Corp has acquired Tata Teleservices' near 13% residual stake in ATC Telecom Infrastructure.
* US activist investor Elliott has revealed a EUR1.2 billion stake in SAP.
* Facebook said far more Instagram passwords were inappropriately stored in plain text on its internal servers than were originally reported, and a report that its "unintentional" uploading of 1.5 billion users' e-mail contact data without their consent may have broken US and EU laws. Also, Canadian regulators plan to take Facebook to court over its privacy practices.
* Facebook has put aside $3 billion for expected FTC fines.
* Fortinet has agreed to a $545 000 settlement, after acknowledging that a former employee had product labels changed to make the items appear compliant with Federal procurement law.
* Google will have to pay publishers for news snippets and Facebook will have to filter out protected content under new copyright rules aimed at ensuring fair compensation for the European Union's $1 trillion creative industries. Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work.
* Google and Amazon will have to tell companies how they rank products on their platforms, while Facebook and other tech firms will have to be more transparent about their terms and conditions under new EU rules.
* Hulu has bought back wireless carrier AT&T's stake in the US entertainment streaming service for $1.43 billion.
* NTT is set to open its international headquarters in London as part of the plan to expand its global presence.
* Samsung Electronics plans to invest $116 billion in non-memory chips through 2030, to cut its reliance on the volatile memory chip market and develop chips to power self-driving cars and AI-enabled devices.
* Twitter and Facebook have nine months to comply with data law by moving Russian user data onto servers in Russia.
* VMware has announced a $100 million, five-year investment to develop technology talent across the EMEA region.
* Excellent quarterly results from Reliance Jio Infocomm.
* Excellent year-end numbers from Taiwan Mask (back in the black).
* Very good quarterly figures from ASML, BenQ Medical Technology, Novatek Microelectronics, Shennan Circuits, Xilinx and Yandex.
* Good quarterly numbers from Adtran (back in the black), Amazon, ASM International, Aspen Technology, Cadence Design Systems, China United Network Communications, Comcast, CTG (back in the black), Dassault Systemes, Ericsson (back in the black), Huawei Technologies, Mellanox, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, SolarWinds (back in the black), Twitter and Wipro.
* Good year-end numbers from Tejas Networks and Veeam Software.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Amphenol, Anixter International, Atos, Avast, Cerner, Crown Castle International, CyberOptics (back in the black), eBay, F5 Networks, Flir Systems, Lantronix, Netgear, Publicis Groupe, Roper Technologies, Sony (back in the black), T-Mobile US, Teledyne Technologies, Teradyne, TomTom, Total Systems Services, VeriSign, Verizon Communications, Visa and WNS Holdings.
* Satisfactory year-end figures from Mobile Tornado Group, Nintendo, SPC Technology Group and Parity Group.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Alliance Data Systems, BE Semiconductor Industries, Benchmark Electronics, China Mobile, CoreLogic, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lam Research, Macronix, Mail.ru Group, Omnicom Group, Rogers Communications, Silicon Labs, SK Hynix, STMicroelectronics, TE Connectivity, Texas Instruments, TSMC and Visteon.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Align Technology, AT&T, Check Point Software Technologies, Citrix Systems, Entegris, Facebook, General Dynamics, Interface, Iron Mountain, Manhattan Associates, Millicom and SirusXM, with revenue up but net income down; and from Avnet (but back in the black), AVX, Bharti Infratel, Celestica, China Unicom Hong Kong, CyberLink, Cypress Semiconductor, Snap-On and Xerox, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from A10 Networks, Atlassian, ATN International, AU Optronics, AXT, Brightcove, Consolidated Communications, Gridsum, Iridium Communications, LG Display, Limelight Networks, LogMeIn, MediaValet, MicroVision, MobileIron, Nokia, Proofpoint, PTC, Rambus, SAP, ServiceNow, Shutterfly, Snap, Uber and Vocera Communications.
* A half-year loss from Image Scan Holdings.
* A full-year loss from Crossword Cybersecurity, Telit Communications, Touchstar and WANdisco.
* The appointments of Sheih Chi-mau as chairman of Chunghwa Telecom and Lutz Schuler as CEO of Virgin Media.
* The retirement of John Ambroseo, CEO of Coherent, and David Cheng, chairman of Chunghwa Telecom.
* The departure of Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media.
* An IPO filing in the US from China's largest live-streaming platform, DouYu International Holdings, which is backed by Tencent Holdings.
* An IPO filing for Nasdaq from Sonim Technologies, a leading US provider of ultra-rugged mobile phones and accessories designed specifically for task workers physically engaged in their work environments, often in mission-critical roles.
* An IPO filing for the NYSE from Slack Technologies, a team communications company.
* An excellent IPO on Nasdaq by Zoom Video Communications, a video conferencing provider.
* A very good IPO on the NYSE by Pinterest, an online product and idea discovery company.
* A disappointing IPO in Italy by Nexi, a payment services specialist, despite this being Europe's largest IPO this year.

Research results and predictions

EMEA/Africa:
* The MENA region is a fast-growth market for digital transformation as organisations look to gain greater business agility, better understand customer needs and trends, and scale up on emerging technology innovations, according to Gartner. Software spend is the fastest growing technology sector in the MENA region, increasing by 11% year-on-year to a record high of $6.2 billion in 2018.
* The EMEA traditional PC market declined year-on-year in Q119 for the second consecutive quarter, but at a softer rate (-2.7% year-on-year) and totalling 17 million units, according to IDC. The commercial segment posted healthy growth of 6%, with both product categories performing well. The consumer space suffered a heavy decline of 12.6%, as both desktops and notebooks fell by double digits.

Worldwide:
* Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.79 trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1% from 2018, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide revenue for IT services and business services totalled $513 billion in 2H18, an increase of 4.5% year-over-year, according to IDC. For the entire year, worldwide services revenue crossed the $1 trillion mark, with annual growth accelerated slightly to 4.3%, outstripping the worldwide GDP growth by more than half a percentage point.
* Digital transformation spending will reach $1.18 trillion in 2019, an increase of 17.9% over 2018, according to IDC.
* Worldwide semiconductor photomask sales set a new high of $4.04 billion in 2018, according to SEMI.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Up 0.8%
* FTSE100: Down 0.1%
* DAX: Up 2.6%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 0.5%
* S&P 500: Up 1.1% (all-time high reached during this period)
* Nasdaq: Up 2% (all-time high reached during this period)
* Nikkei225: Up 1.8%
* Hang Seng: Down 0.1%
* Shanghai: Down 3.2%

Look out for

International:
* Federal regulators holding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable for the company's handling of users' personal data.
* A buyer for BT's Irish unit.

South Africa:
* Further developments from EOH.

Final word

Fortune magazine has released its 2019 listing of "The world's greatest leaders". Included in this top 50 are:
* 4: Pony Ma, founder and CEO of Tencent;
* 5: Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft;
* 12: Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank; and
* 14: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.

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