Friday, July 28, 2006

Are you looking for an IT job?

If you are, the market may be ready for you. According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics we have seen a jump of more than 11% in IT employment from April to May this year. The numbers are in line with research conducted by Robert Half Technology, noting that IT job growth will remain robust.

To summarize the Robert Half report; 13% of U.S. CIOs plan to add staff over the next three months. (This is up 10% from the previous reporting periods), while only 3% of CIOs anticipate cutbacks.

This is good news for anyone in the IT market. Do you think this is an indication the big wave of outsourcing is fading? I do not think so. Companies are still outsourcing in record numbers; it is more an indication of the willingness of Sr. Executives to invest in IT to generate a competitive advantage.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Mercury is heating up...

...or more like gobbled up. Today, Hewlett-Packard announced that it will acquire Mercury Interactive for $52 a share, or $4.5 billion in cash. The Mountain View, California, based company builds products for managing application development...a tough market to compete in, to say the least.

HP is planning to integrate Mercury tools into it’s OpenView system and network management software for data centers. This move is intended to bring more to the developer through a single vendor than what they can get from purchasing two separate products.

"I am confident that this transaction means HP is building a software business that must be reckoned with," said Mark Hurd, HP's chief executive officer.

In my opinion, the Mercury toolset provides a good feature set, but the technology is aging and is priced at a premium to competitor offerings. Competitors like Microsoft are entering the market with a more integrated solution at a much lower price point.

Hey, HP! 4.5 billion dollars is not a good price for this company! This is not the kind of heat you need to burn up your competitors.

Dell in vending machines?

Dell is opening its first store in a Dallas mall today. In the past, the company has been very successful in their strategy of selling directly to customers over the phone and the Internet but they're now expanding with the introduction of retail stores.

The store in Dallas will be the only one of its kind with a 3,000SF floor plan and a full inventory--allowing customers to browse different products before making a purchase.

This is a major shift for a company that is in the middle of launching 160 kiosks in malls across the nation. The kiosks have no inventory—the shopper places the order at the kiosk and the product is shipped to their homes.

I personally do not think the full inventory store is the model that Dell should follow—I am looking for Dell to bring me laptops in vending machines like Coke and Pepsi (and wouldn’t you love it to be for the same price?).

Dell is faced with constant price pressure from competitors like Hewlett-Packard Co. and China's Lenovo Group Ltd. Dell’s shipment of personal computers is increasing, but it’s market share is retracting. Not a good sign if you ask me! Dell—Feel free to use my vending machine idea and put Dell on every street corner (next to Coke and Pepsi).

Monday, July 24, 2006

Let’s go shopping for ATI!

Well, it's a little late for that. Today, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.) announced its intent to pay $5.4 billion for graphics chipmaker ATI Technologies in a move to increase AMD's mobile-computing and consumer electronics capabilities.

(Check out AMD CEO Hector Ruiz' grin as he shakes hands with ATI CEO Dave Orton. Ruiz is on the left.)

This deal is expected to put a major squeeze on Intel, AMD’s major competitor. Terms include $4.2 billion in cash, and AMD will issue 57 million shares of common stock to ATI shareholders. Ruiz said during a news conference earlier today, “this strategy has been in the making for a number of years and culminated with the ATI acquisition." He also noted that "visual computing is playing a larger role in what we are doing, going forward."

Only time will tell if AMD will actually get the full value out of this transaction.

Dave Orton will join AMD as an executive vice president of the ATI business division, reporting to the AMD office of the CEO, comprising Hector Ruiz and president and COO Dirk Meyer.

After the announcement AMD's shares were down 4.8 percent to $17.37 a share in midday trading today. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and will result in annual sales of $7.3 billion and a workforce of a whopping 15,000 people.

Do you think this will result in a reduction of force for AMD?

Scouting for Talent

Business leaders are always facing the challenge of finding the next generation of talent. Sometimes you search and search and end up with nothing to show for your time. Other times, you stumble right into a veritable army of future leaders without even knowing it.

A couple of weekend ago, I attended a Boy Scout camp with my son. Most of the scouts' time would be spent busily working on tasks that would earn them merit badgets. You can picture the scene...hundreds of scouts, each wielding an axe, and looking for a tree to chop down. (Of course it was nothing like that...but it is a cool image, huh?)

Anyway, as an assistant Scouting leader, I figured I would have a lot of things to keep track of. Tents had to be raised, wood needed to be gather, meals cooked, campfires tended, songs sung--you know the drill. But as the weekend unfolded, it turned out that these intrepid young men were not only energetic, they were disciplined, well organized, thorough, conscientious, diligent, detail-oriented, efficient, smart, and enthusiastic. In short, they were model employees. But since most of these lads were in the 12-18-year-old range, I'll have to wait a few years before offering them jobs at my company.

But American business is watching, boys--so keep up the good work!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How is Microsoft investing their money?

Today, Microsoft announced earnings that were just ahead of analysts' expectations. Along with this news, they also announced a massive stock buy-back program (reports suggest they are planning on buying up to $40 billion worth of Microsoft stock).

The first move will be a $20 billion tender offer to be completed on August 17, 2006, with an additional $20 billion offer to be completed by 2011. (Two years ago, Microsoft announced a $30 billion stock buyback.)

The company announced that it has just completed this plan and continues to show confidence in their own ability to deliver for the future.

[The offer is a modified Dutch auction, in which Microsoft will pay no more than $24.75 and not less than $22.50 per share. The buyback will equal about 8.1% of all outstanding shares.]

Word of the earnings report--in conjunction with the big buyback--sent Microsoft's stock higher in after-hours trading. Shares changed hands recently at $24.17, up $1.32, or 5.8 percent, from the close of regular trading. (Microsoft closed at $22.85, a drop of 55 cents).

Would you invest in what you are doing today?

I am back--by popular demand!

Well, back by popular demand might be overstating things. It would be more accurate to say I am driven back by angry e-mails from frustrated readers.

Like many bloggers, I wasn't sure anybody was reading--but how wrong I was. Readers kept pinging me. At first they were polite, but after awhile things turned ugly and personal.

It was Joe and his ranting that finally put me over the edge. Now I am --so pleeeeeease stop with the angry e-mails, already.

It has been quite a while since I have been blogging, and many things have happened during this period. From a professional standpoint, the big news is that I have a new job. I am still with the same great company, but I'm now responsible for Enterprise Architecture (so be prepared for Enterprise Architecture blogging).

I'm looking forward to sharing more stuff wth you and, even better, I am eager to hear from all of you. And if I do a good job, maybe, over time, I might even receive a nice e-mail from Joe.