Google Trying To Rip A Page Out Of The Cisco Playbook

from the done-deals dept

For years, Cisco has been the king of acquisitions in Silicon Valley, as its valuable stock and enviable market position has allowed it to feast on a steady diet of tech startups, whose products could be plugged into Cisco’s broader line of offerings. The company was particularly prolific during the bubble, but even post-bubble, the company has made a lot of deals. So far this year, however, Google has been the number one acquirer of venture-backed startups, slightly edging out Cisco (five vs. four). The gap isn’t very big, but it definitely looks like Google is set to continue this pace and remain a major (if not the biggest) acquirer for some time. Obviously, any company with Google’s cash and share price can afford to do a lot of deals, but the test will be whether Google proves adept at integrating these startups into its broader business. Over the years, Cisco made integration of startups a key competency (it had to), so it could extract value out of deals that other companies couldn’t. Google’s record on this measure has heretofore been spotty. Some acquired companies have found little support inside the Google behemoth, while its most visible acquisition, YouTube, has brought about unwanted change at the company. As long as the company shows mind-boggling profits, nobody is going to question all of its purchases. But eventually, the company will have to show that it’s good at selecting and profiting from acquisitions, if it’s to continue this strategy.

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