The 10 Biggest Acquisitions Of 20124:00 PM EST Thu. Dec. 20, 2012
Even with HP staying on the sidelines, 2012 was another big year for IT acquisitions. And there were some interesting moves as IT giants moved into new areas such as social media, hardware manufacturers ventured into software, and networking vendors got into the software-defined networking game. Here are the biggest acquisitions of the year.
Microsoft bolstered its social media presence this year by shelling out $1.2 billion for Yammer, a cloud-based social networking service for businesses. The software giant plans to continue offering Yammer, which has more than 5 million corporate users, as a stand-alone service while also integrating it with other Microsoft products such as Office 365 (pictured) and Skype.
Cisco made a lot of acquisitions this year, and one of the biggest was the $1.2 billion purchase of Meraki, a networking startup that specializes in cloud-based management of wired and wireless infrastructures. Cisco said it will use Meraki's management platform to deliver cloud-based networking solutions to small and midsize businesses. The Meraki acquisition is one of many moves Cisco has made recently to build up its cloud offerings.
VMware has made a number of acquisitions in recent years to fuel its growth, but none have been bigger than the $1.2 billion purchase of Nicira . VMware reportedly beat out Cisco for the SDN startup, which has built buzz this year after luring top executive talent from Cisco and Juniper Networks. The big question is, will the addition of Nicira bring VMware closer to OpenStack?
Big Blue continued its steady stream of software-related acquisitions this year, with the crown jewel being the $1.3 billion addition of Kenexa. A cloud-based software maker, Kenexa specializes in recruiting and talent management applications, which IBM hopes will strengthen the company's social business and human resources offerings while also keeping it competitive in the cloud-based software market against the likes of Oracle (see next slide) and SAP.
Speaking of cloud-based software acquisitions, Oracle -- never one to shy away from big money acquisitions -- spent $1.9 billion to purchase Taleo. Taleo's Software-as-a-Service applications are designed to help businesses manage employee recruiting, training and performance review. Oracle said it will integrate Taleo's offerings into its Oracle Public Cloud service, which has been bolstered recently with other cloud-focused acquisitions.
This may be the year that Dell became a bona fide software player. The computer maker wrapped up Quest Software for $2.4 billion, which gives Dell a wide range of products such as database tools, application development, backup and recovery, and security software. Quest's broad portfolio became the centerpiece of the Dell Software Group, which was formally created this year.
They may not be household names, but these two companies teamed up for one of the biggest IT acquisitions of the year. Micron, a semiconductor company based in Boise, Idaho, spent $2.5 billion to acquire Elpida Memory, which had declared bankruptcy earlier in the year. The move gave Micron Elpida's DRAM products and strengthened Micron's market share in the memory sector.
SAP added to its cloud-based software portfolio this year with the $4.3 billion purchase of Ariba, which specializes in business commerce networking applications. In an arms race to snatch up smaller cloud software vendors, SAP's move was the biggest of the year. The ERP software giant said it would cease production of its own supplier-related applications and will sell comparable Ariba applications instead; in addition, SAP said it has started to integrate its enterprise software with the Ariba Network.
Cisco made one of the biggest acquisitions in its storied history this year with a $5 billion purchase of NDS Group, a video software and content security company. The U.K.-based company specializes in managing how service providers and media firms deliver video content, and Cisco plans to leverage the company's Videoscape home entertainment platform with its existing networking and video offerings.
The biggest acquisition of 2012 goes to a blockbuster telecom deal. Softbank, Japan's third-largest mobile carrier, spent $20.1 billion to acquire a majority stake in Sprint Nextel, the third largest mobile carrier in the U.S. Sprint Nextel said the addition of Softbank experience with LTE wireless technology will help it become more competitive in the U.S. mobile carrier market. In addition, Sprint Nextel has already used some of the $20.1 billion from Softbank to acquire U.S. Cellular's Midwestern U.S. spectrum and customers.