For technology to evolve, change needs to be done. All rival tech companies need at some point of other to set aside their differences and merge in order to built the next top product that makes each side more money. I’ve compiled a top 10 list on the highest-profile tech mergers.
1. IBM and Apple
This shocker most recently happened. By “shocker” I mean that Apple’s public enemy #1 in the 1980’s was IBM. Time must heal all wounds after all.
2. Apple and Microsoft
Going to point #1, Apple and Microsoft had been rivals until Apple placed itself, in Steve Jobs’ absence, on the brink of bankruptcy. Steve Jobs received an injection of $150 Million from Bill Gates in exchange for a partnership, along with Apple being required to have Internet Explorer on their operating system for quite some time. Steve Jobs rationalized the merger to his audience in that now, they cover 100% of the market.
3. Skype Microsoft
Microsoft bought Skype in May 2011 for $8.56 Billion. Incredibly, this was the second time Skype was bought out, the first time by eBay in 2003 for $3.1 Billion, only to sell their shares at a later time. This was important as Skype is arguably the largest internet-chat service in the world. This was strategic in that now, one can import their contacts from Facebook, and Microsoft powers internet search results on Facebook’s (as well as Yahoo’s) search engine. As a result Microsoft/Bing can serve paid ads to a wider array of people.
4. Microsoft and Facebook
Microsoft partnered with Facebook in 2012/2013 in order to serve search results where their Ads would show. In reality the partnership lasted since 2007 when Microsoft injected $240 million of cash into the continued development of the social network.
5. Microsoft and Yahoo
Microsoft partnered with Yahoo in July 2009, at a time when Yahoo was floundering and selling away the farm. This was some time before Marissa Mayer took the helm and started to steer Yahoo in the right direction. This was interesting as Yahoo was first known as a search engine and and internet portal second. How times have changed.
6. Google and YouTube
Google bought YouTube for $1.6 billion and it was considered by many to be a bust. As hindsight is 20/20 it’s clear that Google didn’t buy YouTube for existing sales, but because they figured they could leverage the most widely used video sharing program worldwide to serve ads and integrate into their ecosystem, which now centers around Google Plus. Google initially tried competing with them with Google Video, but wisely decided to buy out a more robust solution. The rest is history.
7. Google and Waze
In May/June 2013 Google bought Waze, an Israel-based mapping service for $1.3 Billion. Waze is unique in that it’s a more social type of mapping service, allowing users to report accidents, police presence, speed cameras and blocked roads, all things that Google Maps did not have.
Waze originally was due to reach a deal with Facebook for $1 Billion, however, Waze’s founders would have had to leave Israel and move to Palo Alto, California. Waze’s founders preferred to stay in Israel and for that main reason reached a deal with Google, allowing them to operate remotely from Israel and double their employee base, slightly improving the Israeli economy in terms of creating more jobs.
8. Yahoo and Tumblr
Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion, and in her typical geeky manner, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised “not to screw it up.” What makes the merger interesting is that it partially allows Yahoo to compete with Google in the Social race. Tumblr is a blogging platform that allows one to socially follow other Tumblr blogs. The criticism was that Tumblr had a strong follower base but little revenue. We will see how that translates later on, as social networks have proven to be power Ad platforms to serve Ads.
9. Google and Yahoo Regarding Delicious
Not many people remember this, but Google/YouTube snatched Delicious from Yahoo. This was in light of Yahoo not seeing Delicious, a social bookmarking site, as a good fit for them. Lots of Delicious users were surprised, as well as disappointed in losing all their precious bookmarked links when finding out that, after they needed to create a new Google account, that their old Yahoo account disappeared. Today one can create a Delicious account using a Facebook, Google or Twitter account, but not Yahoo. Very interesting.
10. Facebook and Instagram
Facebook bought Instagram, a photo uploading/sharing social site, for $1 billion in 2012. Many users criticized this move as Instagram had at most 100 million users whereas Facebook had close to 1 billion. Facebook must have seen the potential for it to grow as one can make edits, share photos to a few channels like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, and build an instagram-only network of followers/following.
So that’s my top 10 list on tech mergers. Comments are always welcome in terms of others that come to mind.