The Best Acquisition Of The Decade - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Information Management
Commentary
1/8/2010
09:32 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

The Best Acquisition Of The Decade

Big tech companies bought hundreds of smaller players from 2000 to 2009, but to my mind only one acquisition stands out as the smartest purchase of the aughts.

Big tech companies bought hundreds of smaller players from 2000 to 2009, but to my mind only one acquisition stands out as the smartest purchase of the aughts.I saw a Wall Street Journal blog post that lists the tech companies that acquired the most VC-backed companies since 2000 (Cisco led with 48, and IBM finished second with 35). The story got me wondering: of all the tech purchases made over nine years, startups or otherwise, which one had the greatest impact on the buyer and the tech market as a whole?

My pick is EMC/VMware, because of the sheer impact that server virtualization is having on the technology industry. And because VMware currently owns this market, it gets credit for much of this impact.

Server virtualization upends IT on multiple fronts. Within the enterprise, it makes IT more flexible because VMs can be spun up in a blink and shifted among physical servers with ease. But there's a price for that flexibility in the form of new operations, security and compliance challenges. And those challenges are spawning a sub-industry of virtualization management and security products and vendors. The hypervisor is displacing the OS as the software axis for IT management and security, and becomes the development focus for new applications and technologies.

Outside the enterprise, virtualization underpins public and private cloud computing infrastructure, which itself threatens to upend how businesses consume and manage computing resources.

As for EMC, the company gained a relevance and market power it would never have commanded as a plain old storage vendor. On the flip side, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and others have the knives out for EMC/VMware like never before.

I also asked my colleagues at Network Computing and InformationWeek for their picks for the best acquisition. Because this is my blog, I'm calling their suggestions the runners-up.

Oracle and PeopleSoft: The acquisition gave Oracle a big chunk of the HR software business and solidified its own back-office portfolio. It also meant PeopleSoft customers saw their license costs go up, but this post isn't about what was best for customers. The move also created an opportunity for PeopleSoft leaders Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri to launch Workday, a SaaS-based competitor. Maybe Oracle will be back to snap them up too.

Juniper and NetScreen: This purchase made Juniper an instant threat to Cisco outside of routing and switching. In addition, NetScreen had already purchased SSL VPN vendor Neoteris and IDS vendor OneSource, giving Juniper a three-for-one deal and a nice little security/network-access stack to build out.

Cisco and IronPort and Webex: This tandem of purchases positioned Cisco to move into its new role as a SaaS e-mail provider http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10723/index.html. I think it's significant because Cisco's DNA is building hardware, not running a service. This isn't to say they can't do it, but it's a radical change from the company's proven skill sets. It also tells me that Cisco's crystal ball sees SaaS e-mail (as well as unified communications and collaboration services) as a business with enough growth to justify the capital expenses that come with building out a service and the inevitable mistakes it will make as it learns to be a provider.

I'd love to get your input: which company made the best purchase in the past nine years, and why? Hit the comments box or drop me a line at acmurray@techweb.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Success = Storage & Data Center Performance
Balancing legacy infrastructure with emerging technologies requires laying a solid foundation that delivers flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. Learn what the most pressing issues are, how to incorporate advances like software-defined storage, and strategies for streamlining the data center.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll