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Team work boosts Telkom Kenya

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Paul Booth.

Paul Booth.

Ultimate Software going private for $11 billion dominated the international ICT market last week, while at home it was comparatively quiet.

* An interim loss from Net 1 UEPS Technologies, with revenue also down (34.5%).
* A positive trading update from MTN.
* Negative trading updates from Alaris Holdings and Silverbridge Holdings.
* The 51% acquisition by Dynamic Technologies, a software and technology group, of DotModus, a cloud solutions firm.
* The 37.45% investment by the Reatile Group, an investment holding company, in Pragma, an enterprise asset and facilities management company.
* The announcement that Kingson Capital, a Section 12J venture capital company, has a R400 million fund to invest in high-growth tech and black-owned start-up companies in SA.

* Ethio Telecom will be the first company to be privatised partially from among the four state-owned companies the Ethiopian government has decided to privatise.
* Lava International Limited, a multinational mobile phone manufacturer, has entered into the Nigerian market through the launch of its Champion series (C1, A1, N1) and smartphones Z series (Z81 2GB, Z81 3GB) and the Iris 5.
* Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit has agreed to combine operations with Telkom Kenya, creating the second-largest telecommunications operator in the East African nation after Safaricom.
* The appointments of Henry Craukamp as MD of Rockwell Automation Sub-Saharan Africa; and Pedro Guerreiro as MD of SAP Africa’s newly-formed Central African region.

* The acquisition by Barracuda Networks of Avast Software’s Managed Workplace, giving the former its first remote monitoring and management platform.
* The $618.5 million acquisition by Carbonite of Webroot, a leading cyber security company.
* The $11 billion acquisition by Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm, of Ultimate Software Group, a cloud-based human resources applications developer.
* The acquisition by Kofax, a leading supplier of intelligent automation software to automate and digitally transform end-to-end business processes, of Top Image Systems, a global innovator of on-premises and cloud-based applications that optimise content-driven business processes.
* Microsoft bought DataSense, a platform for collecting and managing data within schools that is used by education-focused solution providers.
* Pegasystems purchased Infruid Labs, a business analytics and data visualisation software company.
* The acquisition by Spotify of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor as it looks to take on Apple’s popular iTunes podcasting platform.
* STMicroelectronics purchased a majority stake in Swedish silicon carbide wafer manufacturer Norstel AB.
* The $218 million acquisition by Tesla of Maxwell Technologies, which will help the electric car-maker beef up its battery technology.

The acquisition by Spotify of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor as it looks to take on Apple’s popular iTunes podcasting platform.

* The $185 million acquisition by Tyler Technologies, the public sector juggernaut that has been a big player in state and local government digital transformation, of MicroPact, a software company that focuses on the federal market. In addition, it has acquired MyCivic, a rapidly growing provider of citizen engagement applications.
* VMware bought AetherPal, a technology partner that enables IT administrators to remotely monitor and update devices in the field.
* Xerox purchased Vader Systems, a provider of 3D printing technology.
* The investment by NTT’s Docomo in Hatch, a spin-off of Angry Birds game-maker Rovio, in order to bring 5G gaming to Japanese consumers.
* Apple has reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, with French media putting the sum at around EUR500 million.
* Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.
* TPx Communications, formerly known as TelePacific Communications, is going public as part of a complex deal involving a special purpose acquisition company, Pensare Acquisition, which will help TPx become a Nasdaq-listed public company. The transaction values the combined companies at approximately $1.1 billion, with the new company being known as TPx Corp.
* Excellent quarterly results from Cabot Microelectronics (back in the black), IEC Electronics (back in the black) and Take Two Interactive Software.
* Very good quarterly figures from Microchip Technology (back in the black), Shutterfly, Tableau Software (back in the black) and Viavi Solutions (back in the black).
* Good quarterly numbers from Alphabet (back in the black), Carbonite (back in the black), CSG Systems International, EA (back in the black), eGain (back in the black), Entegris, Fabrinet, Fortinet (back in the black), GoPro (back in the black), Motorola Solutions (back in the black), Paycom Software, Presidio, Spotify (back in the black), Trimble (back in the black), Twitter, Ubiquiti Networks (back in the black), Ultimate Software and Vishay Intertechnology.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Arrow Electronics, Cerner, Cognizant Technology Solutions (back in the black), Euronet Worldwide, FormFactor, Gartner, Genpact, Manhattan Associates, Radware, Rudolph Technologies, ScanSource, Sensata Technologies, Sonos, Teradata (back in the black) and VeriSign.
* Mediocre quarterly results from DXC Technology, First Data, Lumentum and NXP Semiconductors.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Amdocs, Axcelis Technologies, BCE, Brooks Automation, CDK Global, CDW, ePlus, Esco Technologies, Fiserv, Internet Initiative Japan, MTS Systems, Nuance Communications, Pitney Bowes, Quantenna Communications, Softbank, Swisscom, T-Mobile, TechTarget and Zynga, with revenue up but net income down; and, from Alliance Data, Benchmark Electronics (but back in the black), Qorvo, PC Connection, Seagate Technology, Skyworks Solutions, Snap-On, Synaptics (but back in the black), TTM Technologies and Zayo Group, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from A10 Networks, Aerohive Networks, Allot Communications, Alpha & Omega Semiconductor, Amtech Systems, Arlo Technologies, FireEye, ForeScout Technologies, Glu Mobile, MACOM Technology Solutions, MaxLinear, Mercari, Millicom, MobileIron, NCR, Netgear, pdvWireless, Pixelworks, Plantronics, Rapid7, RealNetworks, Snap, Tenable, Viad, ViaSat, Vocera Communications, Vodafone Idea, Westell Technologies and Zendesk.
* The appointments of Mike Baur as chairman of ScanSource (already CEO); Kevin Campbell as CEO of Backoffice Associates; Francisco D’Souza as executive vice-chairman of Cognizant Technology Solutions; Brian Humphries as CEO of Cognizant Technology Solutions; and Sanjay Mirchandani as president and CEO of CommVault Systems.
* The retirement of Steve Fischer, chairman of Scan Source; and Paul J Tufano, president and CEO of Benchmark Electronics.
* The departure of Christopher North, CEO of Shutterfly.
* An IPO filing in the US from Slack, the business messaging service provider.
* A disappointing IPO in Hong Kong from Tencent-backed Maoyan Entertainment, China’s biggest movie-ticketing platform by sales.

* JSE All share index: Down 1.3%
* FTSE100: Up 0.7%
* DAX: Down 2.4%
* NYSE (Dow): Up 0.2%
* S&P 500: Up 0.1%
* Nasdaq: Up 0.5%
* Nikkei225: Down 2.2%
* Hang Seng: Up 0.1%
* Shanghai: No change

International:
* Palo Alto Networks acquiring Demisto, a US-Israeli information security firm.
* Switzerland’s Sunrise Communications Group buying Liberty Global’s Swiss business UPC Schweiz, a broadband provider.
* Dell Technologies selling SecureWorks.

South Africa:
* More re the listing of the MultiChoice Group.

Final word

Fortune magazine has published its 2019 list of ‘The world’s most admired companies’. In the list from a technology perspective are:
* 1 Apple (no change)
* 2 Amazon (no change)
* 6 Microsoft (was 7)
* 7 Alphabet (was 3)
* 8 Netflix (was 11)
* 14 Salesforce (was 15)
* 34 Alibaba (new entrant)
* 36 Accenture (was 40)
* 40 IBM (was 35)
* 44 Facebook (was 12)
* 50 Samsung Electronics (new entrant)

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MIT Unveils the World’s Most Advance Carbon Nanotube Chip

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“A team of academics at MIT has unveiled the world’s most advanced chip yet that’s made from carbon nanotubes,” reports MIT’s Technology Review:

Not only are nanotube transistors faster than silicon ones, studies have found that chips made from nanotubes could be up to ten times more energy efficient. This efficiency boost could significantly extend electronic gadgets’ battery life. Researchers have been working on alternative chips involving the molecules for decades, but manufacturing headaches have kept the processors stuck in research labs. In a paper published in Nature, the MIT team says it has found ways to overcome some of the biggest hurdles to producing them at scale

[C]hallenges intrigued Max Shulaker, an MIT professor who has worked on other notable projects in the field, and has received funding from the US Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency to develop nanotube technology. The group of researchers he leads has developed a working 16-bit microprocessor [based on the RISC-V instruction set and running standard 32-bit instructions] built from over 14,000 carbon nanotube transistors that Shulaker claims is the most complex ever demonstrated. The techniques they have come up with can be implemented with equipment used for making conventional silicon chips, which means chipmakers won’t have to invest in expensive new gear if they want to make nanotube processors…

Researchers discovered that some kinds of logic gates, which are fundamental building blocks of digital circuits, were more resistant to problems triggered by metallic-like nanotubes than others. That led them to develop a new circuit design that prioritizes these gates, while minimizing the use of more sensitive metallic ones… The chip that the MIT researchers produced using these techniques is capable of running a simple program that produces the message “Hello, World.”
Shulaker says the significance of their research is it clearly points the way for a transition from silicon to carbon nanotubes. “There’s no leap of faith required anymore.”

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Ric Ocasek, singer for The Cars, dies at 75

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(Reuters) – Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1970s and 80s hook-heavy hitmakers The Cars, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 75.

FILE PHOTO: Producer Ric Ocasek arrives at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Ocasek was pronounced dead at his townhouse after someone called 911 about 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) to report that he was unresponsive, a New York Police Department spokesman said. The cause of death will be determined by the city’s coroner.

His representatives could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

“So sad. Such a great writer, singer, player, producer,” fellow classic rocker Peter Frampton said on Twitter of Ocasek. “My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace.”

Ocasek, born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore in 1944, met bass player and future band mate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school.

The pair joined with guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboard player Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson to form the Cars in mid-1970s Boston. Ocasek was the main songwriter, sang lead vocals on most songs and played rhythm guitar.

The band’s self-titled debut album, featuring the singles “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll,” reached Number 18 on the Billboard album charts and put them on the leading edge of pop rock.

The Cars scored their first top-20 single, “Let’s Go,” in 1979 and launched a succession of hits throughout the 1980s such as “Shake It Up” and “Drive,” always identifiable through Ocasek’s distinctive vocals.

The band split up in 1988, and Orr died of pancreatic cancer at age 53 in 2000. The surviving members reunited for a final album, “Move Like This,” in 2010.

The band was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

After the final dissolution of the Cars, Ocasek, who often spoke of his dislike for touring, produced dozens of albums, released solo material, wrote poetry and made visual art.

Ocasek was married three times and had six sons, two from each relationship.

His third wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, announced in May 2018 that the couple had separated after 28 years of marriage.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler and Gerry Doyle

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Ric Ocasek, singer for The Cars, dies at 75: police

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FILE PHOTO: Producer Ric Ocasek arrives at the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Bob Dylan in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

(Reuters) – Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1980s hook-heavy hitmakers The Cars, died on Sunday at the age of 75, New York police said.

Ocasek was pronounced dead at his Manhattan townhouse after a family called to report that he was unresponsive at around 4 p.m. EDT, a New York Police Department spokesman said.

The cause of death will be determined by the city’s coroner.

Ocasek, born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore in 1944, met bass player and future bandmate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school. The pair formed the Cars in mid-1970s Boston.

The band’s self-titled debut album, featuring the singles “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll”, reached Number 18 on the Billboard album charts.

The Cars scored their first top-20 single, “Let’s Go,” in 1979 and proceeded to launch a succession of hits throughout the 1980s before breaking up in 1988, followed by Orr’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2000.

The band reunited for a final album, “Move Like This,” in 2010.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler

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