AT&T has a lot of work of ahead of it, work that will cost the company $1 billion. That's how much AT&T said it plans to invest to upgrade its business network and services for both large companies globally and SMBs in the US.
"Despite the continuing challenges of today's economic environment, we continue to deliver on our commitment to provide companies with the network-centric capabilities and applications they need to enhance their operations," said Ron Spears, President and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions. "IP-based solutions and applications have become ever more important to companies aiming to take their productivity to a new level while transforming their operations to adapt to their customers' changing needs."
AT&T's list is nothing short of extensive and range from increasing broadband speeds in more than 120 markets to putting a heavy focus into continuing to develop and deploy cloud-based managed hosting and infrastructure as a Service capabilities.
This will bring the total investment to upgrade its systems and services to over $4 billion since 2006.
Despite a lingering recession, Microsoft isn't holding back when it comes to spending. According to Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, the Redmond giant will spend around $9.5 billion on research and development this year, which is about $3 billion more than the next closest tech company.
"Especially in light of the tough difficult macroeconomic times that we're coming out of, we chose to really lean in and double down on our innovation," Turner said.
Much of that investment will go towards the cloud, an area Turner sees his company becoming a leader in as it tries to "change and reinvent" itself. Turner also added that Microsoft will still maintain a significant on-premise software business, even as companies such as Google look to cloud-only software solutions.
Elliot Associates, a New York-based hedge fund who also happens to be one of Novell's largest shareholders, wants to acquire the enterprise software maker and hopes its offer of $2 billion will be enough.
Novell now has a tough decision to make. On one hand, cash hasn't really been a problem for the software vendor, who reported $991 million in cash and equivalents at the end of January. But at the same time, Novell's revenues continue to trend backwards, down 6 percent in the most recent quarter compared to one year ago.
"Over the past several years, [Novell] has attempted to diversify away from its legacy division with a series of acquisitions and changes in strategic focus that have largely been unsuccessful. As a result, we believe the company's stock has meaningfully underperformed all relevant indices and peers," Elliot said in a statement. "With over 33 years of experience in investing in public and private companies and an extensive track record of successfully structuring and executing acquisitions in the technology space, we believe that Elliot is uniquely situated to deliver maximum value to the company's stockholders on an expedited basis."
The offer on the table is $5.75 per share in cash, which was more than $1 over the software maker's closing price earlier this week. When news of the offer spread, however, Novell's stock shot up by as much as 29 percent to over $6 per share.
Security firm Trend Micro last week announced a new wholy owned cloud computing subsidiary, TCloud Computing, which the company says will provide technological expertise, system integration, consulting, and training for clients to establish their own cloud computing architectures.
Trend Micro has raised about $3.8 million in initial capital and 60 staff members for its new venture, and plans to add some 200 more to its TCloud Computing workforce in 2010, targeting mostly those with an engineering background. But that investment's a drop in the bucket compared to the $300 million Trend Micro has spent over the past four years to conduct R&D to build an infrastructure for cloud computing.
Setting its sights mostly on telecom carriers and enterprises in Taiwan and other countries in Asia, Trend Micro says its TCloud Computing business should generate about $3.74 million over the next two years.
According to a new Pike Research report released this week, governments and industry leaders around the globe will spend some $200 billion on smart grid technologies between 2008 and 2015.
"Smart meters are currently the highest-profile component of the smart grid, but they are really just the tip of the iceberg," says managing director Clint Wheelock. "Our analysis shows that utilities will find the best return on investment, and therefore will devote the majority of their capital budgets, to grid infrastructure projects including transmission upgrades, substation automation, and distribution automation."
While the term 'smart grid' sounds like a single entity, it actually refers to a number of technologies designed to automate and digitize management of electrical power. According to Pike Research, automation is expected to account for 84 percent of the $200 billion being spent, compared to 14 percent for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and 2 percent for electric vehicle management systems.
There's isn't likely to be another dot-com bubble, but according to a report in the Financial Times, private technology companies are seeing increased stock market interest in initial public offerings (IPOs) for the first time in more than two years, some venture capitalists say.
The sudden interest is being led by Facebook, as well as Amazon recently gobbling up Zappos for $850 million, and Google acquiring AdMob for $750 million.
"Zappos was probably going to be the biggest IPO of the year in 2010," said Chris Varelas, founder of Riverwood Capital, a private equity firm specializing in tech.
Faysai Sohail, a partner at CMEA Capital, a Valley venture capital firm, says that up to 100 companies now have "hundreds of millions in revenue and profitability and are ready to file." And it's not hard to believe. As FT.com notes, the number of companies that filed their intention to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission ballooned to 31, which is the highest its been since the financial crisis.
The cash keeps coming for Clearwire, the wireless broadband provider who managed to secure another $920 million in debt to continue constructing its global 4G wireless network, InternetNews.com reports.
"With this latest tranche of additional funding, we have not only exceeded the amount of capital that we have previously stated we needed to fully fund our business plan, but we have also secured additional capital that will allow us to expand more aggressively by covering more people, and with more capacity than we had previously planned," Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said in a statement.
The latest infusion of funds of will come from 12 percent senior secured notes, due 2015 at an issue price of 97.9 percent. Not bad, considering Clearwire already stands to receive $1.85 billion in senior secured notes in the same year.
Earlier this year, Clearwire said it needed more funding -- anywhere from $2 billion to $2.3 billion -- in order to expand its network to at least 120 million people by the end of 2010. As it stands, Clearwire's 4G network is only available in a handful of cities, including Chicago, Baltimore, Portland, and Philadelphia.
Intel this week announced plans to invest $43 million in Japan-based UQ Communications, a provider of WiMAX mobile services. The infusion of cash will go towards funding the nationwide expansion of UQ WiMAX service in Japan with hopes of reaching 90 percent coverage of the country in the next three years.
"Intel's Capital's investment in UQ Communications is one of our most significant commitments in developing the WiMAX ecosystem around the globe," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. "UQ's WiMAX deployment in Japan is a spectacular exampe of technology innovation being put to work."
More than just a monetary investment, Intel is also working closely with computer vendors and network operators to introduce more PCs and devices capable of taking advantage of WiMAX service, DailyTech reports.
The investment also underscores Intel's stance that it continue to spend its way out of a recession rather than save its way out. Earlier this month, the chip maker entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Wind River Systems, a deal worth $884 million.
Many venture capitalists have drawn in their horns and are biding their time – waiting for the financial tempest to make way, but Google is unfazed. It has setup a new venture fund called Google Ventures. The group will invest up to $100 million in businesses that catch its attention. David Drummond, William Maris and Rich Miner are the people in charge of Google Ventures.
According to William Maris, an entrepreneur and investor brought in to oversee the fund, the fund will make full use of the company's links to search for startups. The fund will focus on startups in sectors like the internet, green technology and life sciences. The fund might be in its youth but it has already invested in two companies. One of them, Silver Spring Networks, develops electric grid management system and the other, Pixazza, is an internet company.
President-elect Barack Obama will have his hands full trying to get the economy back on track once he officially takes office next month, and if the media reform group Free Press has any say in the matter, a major investment in the nation's broadband infrastructure should be high on the list.
In a 30-page reported titled "Down Payment on Our Digital Future: Stimulus Policies for the 21st-Century Economy", the Free Press proposes spending $44 billion in broadband stimulus funds over the next three years. The vast amount of funds would be used to build next-generation broadband networks, connecting rural areas without broadband service, making high speed connections more affordable, providing PCs and training to low income users, promoting children's access to technology at school and at home, and ensuring clear standards of quality, affordability, and competition.
"Promoting the deployment of a national, forward-looking broadband infrastructure will provide substantial short-term and long-term economic benefits," S. Derek Turner, study author and research director of Free Press, wrote in the report (PDF). "This deployment effort will immediately create tens of thousands of new jobs in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and high-tech sectors."
The United States ranks 22nd in the world in broadband adoption, with over 40 percent of all U.S. homes still without a high speed connection. Obama previously said that investing in computers and broadband for schools and hospitals would be part of his immediate economic recovery plans, but no specific amount was ever mentioned.
Would spending $44 billion be overboard? Hit the jump and sound off.