YEAR IN REVIEW: October 2010

October was about two things: CEOs and mobility.

The month kicked off with many industry observers still trying to work out the motivation behind HP Co.’s hiring its new CEO Leo Apotheker. The hiring of the former SAP AG chief, who was officially signed on to HP in the last day of September, was described as either “incredibly brilliant or stupid” by one analyst.

In a less surprisingly move, Shaw Communications Inc. also appointed a new chief executive. CEO Jim Shaw announced he would step down and hand over the reins of the Calgary-based cable giant to younger brother Bradley Shaw.

Former Oracle Corp. president Charles Phillips also reemerged in the news, as he was hired on as CEO of ERP software firm Infor Corp. Phillips’ last days with Oracle were mired in scandal, which included a bizarre incident where billboards appeared across various U.S. cities showing photographs of him with a woman who was not his wife.

Rounding out the CEO appointments was former Cisco Systems Inc. executive Tony Bates, who was hired by Skype.

Another high profile CEO, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, will probably remember October as the month his company’s board of directors decided to hold back his full bonus for the year because of struggles in the mobile and tablet space. Ballmer received 100 per cent of his US$670,000 bonus for the year, but that was only half the amount he expected to receive (he was eligible to receive a 200 per cent bonus).

Ballmer also had to handle the departure of Ray Ozzie, the company’s chief software architect and one of the primary executives responsible for leading Microsoft’s charge into the cloud. Ozzie’s final outgoing corporate memo urged the company to keep embracing cloud computing or die trying.

Moving to the mobile space, Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its Windows Phone 7 operating system with a launch event.

The company showcased 10 new Windows Phone 7 devices during a news conference that was exclusively geared toward the consumer space. Some industry analysts expect enterprise-focused announcements to flood 2011 if the OS resonates with consumers.

Just one week after the news, Toronto-based app development firm Polar Mobile Inc. got into the action, striking a deal to help bring 500 new apps to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 store.

HP followed suit with news of its newly rebranded HP WebOS mobile platform. The company also unveiled the Palm Pre 2 and started shipments on its new HP Slate 500 tablet.

In acquisition news, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. acquired a new Montreal-based data centre from Hypertec Availability Services, Rogers Communications Inc. solidified its business services strategy by picking up Kitchener-based Atria Networks LP, IBM Corp. acquired Clarity Systems Ltd. and Oracle announced its intent to buy single sign-on technology vendor Passlogix.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, which is responsible for managing dot-ca domain names in Canada, unveiled its revamped domain registration system. The biggest addition to the system was a feature that lets users auto-renew their domains.

In government-related news, Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart made news twice during October.

Her office released a report early in the month which found that some federal departments lack security procedures to recover, wipe or encrypt lose and stolen BlackBerry smart phones. Later, she took on Google Inc., blaming careless engineering practices for a privacy breach which involved Google Street View cars collecting payload data on unprotected Wi-Fi networks while driving through Canadian neighbourhoods.

And to close out the month, ComputerWorld Canada held its first ever IT Leadership Awards. The Toronto event attracted hundreds from the Canadian IT community, with WorkSafeBC CIO Anne Naser collected the top prize of the night.

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