Whew! I have to get up from the table and walk this off.
Not the holiday meals, but December’s frantic IT news: Symantec buying Veritas, Oracle buying PeopleSoft, Lenovo buying IBM’s PC business and Bell buying Nexxlink (for loose change, relatively speaking).
Usually it’s a slow news month.
Suddenly everybody got decisive.
And as this is being written December isn’t over, so I’m keeping one eye on the news feed in case something comes up before we go to press.
Exactly why these events happend within a two-week span isn’t clear, although there may be obvious explanations. For one thing, there’s the expectation that interest rates will rise in 2005, so buyers want to strike while rates are low.
For another, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, companies such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard have been buying companies all year, just not with billion-dollar cheques. These acquisitions aren’t aimed at taking out a major competitor or suddenly gaining access to tens of thousands of users, but do reflect the steady turnaround of business in 2004.
The Oracle deal, of course, should have been seen by everyone once PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway was sent packing. Why else give him his walking papers — because he wasn’t tough enough on Larry Ellison? Some on the board must have thought there was a deal worth making.
The moves by Bell and Symantec can be seen as diversifying the companies: Symantec from relying completely on security products, Bell from relying on telephone revenue.
Which brings us to IBM and the future of the big-brand PC. There are corporate and government buyers who want the assurance of a well-known label on the desktop. It is a question whether Lenovo will be one of those names.
The new owner of the IBM moniker for the next five years has a tough road ahead: Goals including cutting manufacturing costs to keep in line with Dell, maintaining a reputation for quality and bolstering channel sales which have been slipping for years.
Until an acquisition is sealed, there is always vagueness on some details. However, Lenovo’s silence on certain things could prove deafening to a channel aching for details. They’ll have to wait until April to find out how the company will deal with IBM’s existing partnership arrangements and possible new products.
Nor would Oracle Canada be drawn out much beyond its press releases on how PeopleSoft resellers in this country could be reassured. It’s a pity for partners these opportunity were missed.