Today we continue our look at the big happenings of 2010, with a breakdown of some of the biggest stories across a handful of key areas. Just click on the links to access the stories.
Much of 2010's most significant news revolved around goings on in the public sector. After a lengthy and competitive bidding process, ChannelWeb broke the news in April of the 20 firms to be picked for Buying Solutions' mega £6bn hardware and software framework.
In November, we also uncovered which firms had made the cut on a major framework covering the provision of hardware and services to the burgeoning academies market. Over the summer we also covered the ins and outs of a £600m framework covering IT services provision.
In May, channel players, like everyone else, were keeping a close eye on the general election and the fallout of the inconclusive result. A number of industry figures voiced their concerns about the effect a hung parliament could have on UK plc.
Once the dust had settled, the coalition was quickly down to business, and education IT procurement body Becta was axed within two weeks of the new government taking office.
Three weeks later, more changes to public sector procurement were afoot when the Government confirmed Buying Solutions was to be rolled into the Efficiency and Reform Group.
The channel was squarely in the firing line in July when education secretary Michael Gove canned the Building Schools for the Future project. ChannelWeb reported that IT suppliers on the scheme were facing to lost revenues of almost £4bn.
More bad news for the industry followed in October, when Sir Philip Green's Efficiency Review urged government bodies to circumnavigate resellers and buy direct from manufacturers.
Later that month, the coalition's long-awaited comprehensive spending review provided better news for resellers serving the education and health markets.
If one word defined the channel in 2010 it was surely this: consolidation. Vendors, distributors and resellers of all shapes and sizes were eager to splash the cash this year, with numerous high-profile acquisitions taking place.
On the reseller front, Dimension Data was surely the biggest player to sell up this year after agreeing a £2.1bn cash deal with Japanese telco NTT in July.
A handful of the UK's most prominent VARs also changed ownership this year, with Morse being sold to 2e2 for £70m in April. Five months later, SCC splashed out on integrator Kavanagh. In March, Capita acquired public sector specialist Ramesys for £15m.
After running up debts of almost £100m, Calyx was bought out of administration by private equity player Better Capital in September.
Another old-school buy-and-build player, in the shape of Redstone, was back on the acquisition trail in latter part of the year after a change of management and an £8.5m cash injection. The company also moved quickly to sell off a number of its non-core assets.
Surely the the most important deal of this, or most other, years was distributor Avnet's acquisition of rival Bell Micro for almost $600m (£388m). Not to be outdone, broadline rival Arrow was also in acquisitive mood this year, snapping up UK comms and security VAD Sphinx in June.
The vendor arena was also a hotbed of M&A activity this year. In April, bitter rivals HP and Cisco both closed major acquisitions, the former snapping up networking vendor 3Com and the latter laying out for videoconferencing player Tandberg.
The year's biggest deal took place in August, when Intel coughed up $7.68bn to acquire security vendor McAfee.
And, as recently as a week ago, the deals continued to come thick and fast. Two of Europe's biggest IT service providers - Atos Origin and Siemens IT Solutions and Services - announced they were merging.
This year also saw the usual flurry of senior management comings and goings. The early part of the year saw a couple of familiar names return to the channel as Ian French popped up at Azlan and Paul Barlow was chosen to lead start-up VAR Servium. Later in the year, former WStore boss Tony Price surfaced at spare parts specialist Chiltern IT.
Moving on from long-held posts this year were Teksys chiefs Alan Watkins and Kevin Lewis, who left in July to pursue investment opportunities. Also bidding a fond farewell was Bell Micro founder Don Bell, who resigned in the summer.
This month has seen two channel leaders move on, with Calyx boss Tara Brady joining Southend United Football Club and Kcom chief executive Paul Renucci resigning. In September, we also broke news of the imminent retirement of Phoenix IT Services managing director Steve Neville.
Despite the ongoing economic malaise, 2010 saw the usual glut of hot new technologies hitting the market, with varying degrees of success.
For many, this year will be remembered as the year of the tablet. The launch of Apple's iPad in April looks set to prove the catalyst for several years of stellar market growth.
Windows 7, launched last year, continued to provide strong sales for channel firms in 2010, while Cisco's first foray into the server market also gained traction with VARs.
And, try as we might, it would be impossible to round up 2010 without at least a passing mention of cloud computing. Cloud is surely the most hyped technology of this - or any other - year, and analysts are already predicting it will be a £10bn market within three years.
All of which brings us to the close of our look back at the big events of 2010. Do get in touch if you think we have missed anything off, and stay tuned to ChannelWeb next year for all the top news stories, in-depth analysis, industry comment and video content.
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