MicroScope's top stories of 2010. Part 2

As our official review of the year continues, today we take a look at the most visited stories on MicroScope.co.uk during the second half of 2010.

As our official review of the year continues, today we take a look at the most visited stories on MicroScope.co.uk during the second half of 2010.

As you will see, the last six months of the year were marked by similar concerns as the first, with more companies going down, further job cuts and reshuffles, and more crooks caught.

However, there were some more unusual stories as well. The distribution channel found itself making national headlines after a failed terrorist bomb plot, and we bid farewell to one of the pioneers of British computing.


Phoenix accounts put on notice

Infrastructure and managed services provider Phoenix IT confirmed it had received notice from two key customers with accounts worth a total of £12.5m that they were planning to take in house some of the services that it provided.

In an interim management statement, Phoenix IT said the two contracts would terminate in September and November of this year, but the board insisted that it did not expect a material impact on its results for the full-year, which runs until March 2011.


Better Capital acquires Calyx debts, calls in the administrator

In September, private equity firm Better Capital acquired the bank debts for Calyx Group from Anglo Irish Bank and placed the services-based networking reseller into administration.

This marked the second time that John Moulton, chairman at Better Capital had invested in Calyx; he backed a management buy-out led by then CEO Maurice Healy in 2007 as managing director at venture capitalist Alchemy Partners.

SCC acquires Kavanagh

Bracknell-based integrator Kavanagh was sold to SCC for an undisclosed sum with managing director Rob Campbell standing down.

"The deal forms part of a clear and longstanding strategy to evolve the breadth and depth of SCC's innovative IT consulting services and infrastructure solutions," said SCH chairman and chief executive Sir Peter Rigby in a statement.

Campbell told MicroScope he has left the business but plans to return to the channel in six months to start up a new venture.

HP wins legal case against grey trading D&P Data Systems

Towards the end of the month HP resolved a legal battle with D&P Data Systems over the importation of branded kit from outside the European Economic Area without its consent.

Details of the settlement, comprising a High Court Order, were kept confidential but HP revealed the Manchester-based second sourcing and excess inventory player had agreed to pay compensation and cease selling unauthorised technology in the region.

"D&P has agreed to pay HP substantial damages and legal costs, submitted to an injunction preventing trade in unlawful imports and agreed to provide HP with certain information," a member of HP's corporate legal team told MicroScope.


Equanet job cuts on the cards, Dixons Retail confirms

Dixons Retail put back-office staff at its Equanet subsidiary in Bury at risk of redundancy with 30 to 50 positions expected to go.

The group made progress in its fiscal 2010, buoyed by improving retail sales but the B2B division - Equanet, PC World Business and Macwarehouse - lagged the wider recovery and continued to battle challenging market conditions.

Avnet to close Chessington office, staff on redundancy notice

Following its acquisition of Bell Microproducts, Avnet said it had initiated a redundancy programme at its offices in Chessington, formerly Bell's European HQ, after internally announcing plans to exit the building. 

"At this point we cannot determine the total number of employees leaving the company because we will be seeking to redeploy where possible," Avnet TS UK boss John Toal told MicroScope.

There are about150 staff based in the Chessington office and around 70% are understood to live in the local area.

Kelway in talks to acquire ISC Computers

At the end of the month, we revealed that Kelway was understood to be locked in negotiations to acquire Cambridgeshire-based ISC Computers.

This would represent the fifth acquisition for Kelway, which began a buy and build strategy in the summer of 2007 when it bought Elcom out of administration and continued in calendar 2009 with Panacea Services, Repton and SAM Practice.


Print firms face restrictions after bomb plot

Disties and importers of printing supplies became subject to new security measures after the discovery of an explosive device concealed within a toner cartridge on board a UPS courier aircraft at East Midlands Airport.

Emergency measures put in place by home secretary Theresa May announced emergency restrictions, prohibiting the import of toner cartridges by air into the UK unless they originate from a "known consignor", a regular shipper with Department of Transport approval.

Computacenter managing director Walsh resigns

Later in the month we reported that long standing Computacenter director Simon Walsh was leaving the firm at the end of the year to pursue opportunities outside of the company, with his role to be divided up between existing management.

In a memo to staff sent out, Computacenter CEO Mike Norris confirmed that managing director of sales Walsh will be "moving onto pastures new at the end of December."

Computacenter MD Walsh: why I resigned

Speaking to MicroScope, the outgoing Walsh revealed he had tendered his resignation after weighing up the short to medium term prospects for getting the role as CEO and out of fear of being typecast.

Noises from the recruitment sector placed Walsh at the head of a telecoms giant or in charge of a growing networking business when his notice period ends, and was subsequently revealed that he is to join networking and comms firm Colt in 2011.

British computing pioneer Wilkes dies

At the end of November, we brought you the sad news that computing pioneer Sir Maurice Wilkes, widely regarded as the father of British computing, had died at the age of 97.

Sir Maurice played an instrumental role in the UK's nascent computer industry in the aftermath of the Second World War, and masterminded the development of the first stored-program computer, the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), at Cambridge University in 1949.

In 1951 restaurant business J Lyons & Co became the first business to use a computer for commercial purposes, developing a variant of EDSAC called LEO I and laying the foundations for the business computing sector.


Most IT pros want to jump ship in 2011

Most IT professionals are looking to jump ship next year, according to a survey from The IT Jobs Board, with 80% planning to look for a new job in 2011, while 59% said they were not loyal to their work.

Of the 100 workers surveyed, 58% said their loyalty would improve if there was better corporate communication.

Alex Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board, said employers ought to be alarmed by these findings: "Clearly the survey highlights that companies need to improve their communication with staff and make them feel more valued."

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