Considering that today we should learn whether all the hubbub around TechCrunch and its alleged purchase by Aol. is true, here is a snapshot of the merger and acquisition activity thus far in 2010. As you can see Google is playing this game real hard. The following chart from CBInsights is courtesy of cnet.
Google is following the lead of one of the most successful tech companies of all time, Cisco. Cisco has been smart enough over the years to understand that if they wanted a technology or the talent around a technology they would use their deep pockets to purchase those assets rather than develop them themselves. They have done this over 140 times since 1993. By constantly infusing new ideas and new ways of thinking a company can stay relevant more readily. Google seems to be working the same system to stay ahead of a rapidly changing competitive landscape in the online space.
The most curious number from the chart above is that Microsoft has acquired no companies this year. Why is that curious? It tells the story of the Microsoft mindset. They are who they are and they try to be other things from the inside out. Unfortunately for them, who they are on the inside isn’t working in the new world order of the online space thus many of their efforts to stay current have failed and created an image of a bloated cash cow dependent entity that is not an innovator.
As a result, if any company were to be purchased by Microsoft one would have to wonder what the fate of that company would ultimately be. Along the same lines as the idea of Aol. owning TechCrunch, anyone (i.e. founders and key employees) bought by Microsoft would likely being doing it for the nice cash out option rather than staying on board and becoming part of the MS machine. Whether it’s true or not the image of becoming part of Microsoft does not make many think of innovation and a great opportunity for the future. To drive that point home, do you really think that TechCrunch will be as relevant and cutting edge as it is now if Aol. owns it and Michael Arrington moves on? No way and the same goes for Microsoft purchases.
Whether the world likes it or not Google is hard at work to keep their position at or near the top of most heaps in the tech world. Maybe it really is just a Google world and we are allowed to live in it.