Another year has passed, and with it another series of acquisitions news from the tech world. Like any aspiring entrepreneur, you might have had a tough time keeping up with all of them.
That’s ok, because we’re here to give you the summary with everything you need to know.
From what the big tech names have been doing to the smaller acquisitions that are still worthy to keep an eye on, here’s a list that looks into everything. We hope this list will give you an overview of what is going on in the world, as well as become a source of inspiration for your future endeavours.
Now, without further ado, let’s see what you missed (or haven’t!) from last year’s acquisitions news.
What has been Apple up to?
It might still be fresh on the grapevine that Apple bought Shazam in December 2017. Shazam has been around since the 2000s, and has touted to have helped identify 15 billion songs by 2014. Nevertheless, the app has found it difficult along the years to build a successful monetisation model.
While plans for incorporating Shazam technology in Apple’s products are still unclear, it’s not a difficult jump to think Shazam will enrich the Apple Music experience or help the company develop its augmented reality tech or its capabilities of visual recognition.
Going back in 2017, Apple also acquired Lattice.io in May, a Californian startup that provides an AI-enabled engine. That engine can take unstructured data and turn it into meaningful and structured insights. Let’s hope to see Apple build its own machine learning capabilities in the next years.
Finally, in March, Apple’s first acquisition of the year was Workflow. The automation tool for iPad and iPhone helps users create a list of functions or commands that will automate certain tasks within an application. Along with buying the application, Apple has also hired the team that created it. So maybe we should look forward to getting rid of all the repetitive app tasks that we all hate to do?
Meanwhile, Google acquired its own community of data scientists
In March 2017, Google bought Kaggle, an online community of data scientists and host of data science and machine learning competitions. While details and future plans of the acquisition are unclear, it’s thought that Google will be using Kaggle’s human resources to improve its AI and machine learning capabilities. After all, Kaggle boasts a community of 600,000 data scientists.
The other noteworthy acquisition of Google in 2017 was AppBridge, a company that helps businesses move their files and data into the Google Cloud platform. AppBridge was already a Google Partner, so it’s easy to see how the move is intended to strengthen the Google Cloud platform by making it more accessible to established businesses.
And Microsoft pushes for multi-platform services and providing value to teams
In what ended up as 3-month negotiations back-and-forth, Microsoft bought Cloudyn, an Israeli cloud startup that helps users manage their cloud billing across multiple platforms. This is one more move that confirms Microsoft’s push to provide multi-platform services.
In April 2017, Microsoft announced they’d acquire Intentional Software, bringing back into the fold the Intentional founder, Charles Simonyi, who had previously worked at Microsoft on products like Excel and Word.
While the details of the acquisition are unclear, both financially or how Microsoft will implement Intentional Software’s work, it seems the acquired company has been working on improving productivity in programming scenarios, and overall team collaboration. It’s expected that between that, Microsoft’s Surface technologies and machine learning capabilities, exciting things will come out to expand the limits of collaboration.
Atlassian buffs up their collaboration tools with Trello
In a tale that seems taken out of every entrepreneurs’ storybook, Atlassian, the go-to collaboration place for developers and project managers of all types, acquired Trello at the start of 2017.
Interesting to follow isn’t just how the discussion between the two companies started the year before with talking about their vision and values, but also how Atlassian’s brand refresh made sure to include all their new products and has created a comprehensive design system.
It’s no hard bet to make that there is still much value to be found in what Atlassian is providing and developing to help teams collaborate.
Moat was acquired by Oracle for $850 million
You might know Oracle as the go-to enterprise solution for everything related to database software and technology, cloud engineered systems and enterprise software products. The later boast enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management softwares. Yes, we know, these guys do a lot of interesting things.
In April, Oracle strengthened their adtech portfolio with Moat. If you’re an advertiser or a brand manager, Moat tracks where your ads are showing up – hopefully where you want them to appear. With this acquisition, Oracle boosted their position as an all-in-one enterprise solution for companies all over the world.
Traditional retailers are trying to stay top-of-mind when it comes to Millenials
Target buying grocery delivery service Shipt was the last in a series of moves from traditional retailers looking to remain relevant as tech changes their industry (like Walmart buying Jet.com in 2016 and Ikea buying TaskRabbit in 2017). Whether it’s to put a dent in Amazon’s rise as an online marketplace or looking for innovative models to pitch to their consumers, one thing is certain. Keeping up with technological advances might just be what shows that traditional retailers still have skin in the game in today’s market.
Keep on eye on who supplies the automotive industry
While it’s easy to remember the big automobile makers or the day, it’s also worth keeping on eye on who supplies those who supply our cars.
Delphi Automotive PLC, since December 2017 known as Aptiv PLC, provides vehicle electronics, systems, modules and components to automobile builders. At CES 2018, they showed off their technologies with a Porsche Macan and a BMW series 5. Delphi acquired NuTonomy in October 2017, a Boston-based self-driving startup. It’s the first acquisition of its kind, as the company will be able to serve more than one car manufacturer and therefore catch a larger market share.
Before that, Intel has bought Israeli driverless car firm Mobileye in March 2017. Mobileye is the leading supplier of software that enables Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), with more than 25 automaker partners – including some of the world’s largest manufacturers. Together with BMW, they want to develop production-ready Fully Autonomous Vehicles and plan on launching the production in 2021. In case you’re surprised a chip maker is dabbling in self-driving cars, you should know that NVIDIA also has a branch that is developing a car driving AI.
All in all, it seems the self-driving car dream has become less of a dream and more of a race against time to be the first to achieve large-scale production.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise strengthens their storage capabilities
At the start of 2017, HPE bought hyperconverged infrastructure provider Simplivity, boosting their hyperconverged portfolio. Simplifying the tech jargon, it means HPE has become better equipped to service companies with large server infrastructures while both upgrading them and making them more efficient.
In another move that seems to put them in the position to better serve their direct customers through desktop and laptop manufacturing, HPE started the acquisition process for hybrid storage provider Nimble Storage in March 2017 – it’s been finalised since then.
HPE’s acquisitions of 2017 strengthen the company’s new focus on networking, storage and technology services as a part of restructuring the business and to keep it relevant with the new changes in the tech world.
Cisco has created its own app monitoring and analytics branch
While you might know Cisco as a networking hardware company, in the past several years it has made a number of investments to become more of a services company. They stand out in the work they’ve done to bring together infrastructures and data centres with IoT and workforce and customer experiences.
At the start of 2017, Cisco had acquired AppDynamics, a San Francisco-based company that offers software solutions to monitor the performance of most applications, flagging problems and areas that need attention. By November, Cisco had also bought Perspica, a machine learning-driven operations analytics firm they planned to fold into AppDynamics, making their app analytics even stronger.
At the bottom line, Cisco is strengthening their capabilities of servicing companies that build apps and improving overall end-user experience by looking both at hardware and software perspectives.
And Okta is picking up their identity management game by buying Stormpath
The $1.2 billion identity management startup for enterprises has gone public last year, but more so, Okta has made an acquisition to expand their line of business in managing IDs across APIs and apps. Not only has the company picked up the technology and the license to use it, they’ve also hired most of the Stormpath employees, including the co-founders.
Why is this relevant? Because there is an increasing need in the app market to securely manage identities and app connections, and more so, Okta is bolstering itself in the competition against other identity management services like Ping Identity and Microsoft.
Education remains relevant in a booming industry
Two acquisitions in 2017 that made us happy were made by companies who invested or are related to education.
Stripe bought Indie Hackers, a website and community that helps entrepreneurs become profitable while also staying independent. Stripe confirmed that their goal was to make the website as successful as possible, and while they’d be happy to see more businesses use Stripe, growing the market of profitable online businesses is also a win for them.
Secondly, Udacity closed its first acquisition ever, with CloudLabs. You might know Udacity as a great place to learn about software development, data science and machine learning. So it’s not surprising that they’d bring onboard the small team of CloudLabs and their technology to create collaborative online coding spaces for all their students.
Going offline, but still relevant for the tech world
We wrote before how promising the acquisition of MeetUp by WeWork might end up being for the collaboration and diversity of the tech world and associated industries.
Another interesting movement was in the investors’ scene, where SoftBank bought Fortress Investment Group for $3.3 billion cash. The bank’s name might ring a bell, as they’ve invested before in WeWork, Uber, Lemonade, and Slack. So it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on what else they’ll invest in.
When you draw the line, 2017 has been an eventful year when it comes to tech acquisitions, whether it’s about software, hardware, machine learning or automotive industries. There’s an excitement buzzing all around, from established companies finding new ways to remain relevant, to new and old companies building the infrastructure you’ll use tomorrow to build your own app business.
All the more reason trust your own insights, put them together with the trends with the trends, wants and needs around you, and bring your app idea to life. There are many ways in which you can make it big as an app entrepreneur, and who knows? Maybe in a year or two your own app’s name will turn up in such a list, having been acquired by a larger company. Always aim high!