Steve Jobs to debut iCloud and Mac OS Lion
Apple CEO Steve Jobs will address the company’s annual conference on June 6 to show off iCloud, a service that lets users store content online, as well as Mac OS Lion, a software update that runs the iPad, iPhone and Mac laptops and desktops. While Jobs is away on medical leave, he just couldn’t stay away from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
Google and Amazon have already unveiled their cloud music system, so it’ll be interesting to see what differentiates Apple’s version from its competitors. We’re thinking the iCloud system will allow Apple to compete with Google’s Android software in the smartphone market. Analysts believe iTunes may also go through changes once iCloud is released.
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News sites are saying Apple has reached agreements with three major record labels to let users of the new music service to access song libraries from their phones via the Internet. An extension into the music label industry could also lead to a music subscription service as part of the iCloud.
Analysts also believe that Apple will announce updates to iOS 5, the new version of the mobile operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. We’ll keep you posted on any updates in that department coming up to the WWDC date.
Traditionally, Apple introduces the next iOS early in the year, with an introduction of a new iPhone in June or July. Considering an iOS-specific event for 2011 has yet to be announced, industry professionals believe Apple won’t sell an iPhone 5 until this fall.
M&A activity key lever for future tech sector growth
Despite the continuing uncertainty of the pandemic, the tech sector has witnessed soaring dealmaking activity over the past year, rocketing in the second half of 2020, with the last quarter of 2020 a record one for M&A activity, and momentum continuing into 2021.
Dealmaking in tech sector soars in past year
And the latest figures bear this out with the number of technology M&A deals totalling US$208.44bn globally in Q1 2021, according to GlobalData. While the US holds top spot both in volume of deals (1034) and total value (US$140.61bn), Europe ranked next with 649 deals (US$44.49bn) with the UK continuing its reign as Europe’s biggest M&A market with 204 deals.
In particular, megadeals – those valued at US$5bn or more – soared in 2020 representing 59% of all global technology sector deal value in 2020, up from 47% in 2019, according to the latest edition of the EY Technology Global Capital Confidence Barometer.
This tech sector trend towards megadeals is backed up by EY’s CCB data, with 16% of tech sector respondents planning to pursue transformative deals valued at US$5bn or more in the near-term.
While technology deal activity “all but stopped at the beginning of 2020 after fluctuating between historic highs and lows, companies pivoted quickly and tech M&A exploded in the second half of the year”, says Barak Ravid, EY Global TMT Leader for Strategy and Transactions.
M&A activity level for tech sector growth
Looking ahead to the future, technology executives are optimistic, with nearly half (47%) expecting profitability to fully rebound this year, according to CCB data, compared to 23% across all sectors, and with more than half (51%) planning to pursue M&A in the next year in order to sustain growth.
According to Ravid, M&A activity is increasingly becoming a key lever for growth as businesses look to recover.
“To position themselves for future revenue growth, tech companies are now adjusting their M&A strategy to focus more on a target’s business resilience, digital technology alignment and to gain market share through consolidation,” says Ravid.
However, with an increasingly competitive deal market and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the majority of tech execs expect to see more competition in the bidding process for assets over the next year, primarily from private capital.