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Business Management

Non-Stop Google is Mammoth Vampire Squid of Tech

Google, reports Bloomberg, is now the biggest deal-maker on the planet, having made 127 M&A deals, investments or divestitures with a ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!’ strategy that rocks along at a rate of a transaction every 8.6 days.

Some are whoppers such as the $3.2bn acquisition of smart household control maker Nest Labs while others are stakes in startups or late-stage firms. The value of the deals for the period was high at $17.6bn, although not as big-spending as some. But the sheer volume and range of activities is enough to make the eyeballs sweat. As one comment on the site put it, with a dollop of poetic licence, Google is emerging as a mammoth vampire squid.

Bill Gates once said he wanted to see ‘Windows Everywhere’, prompting jokes about ‘Windows for Toasters’. And Microsoft did indeed pursue opportunities to put its software in wristwatches and even coffee-makers. But Google’s scale of overreaching is worthy of Tamburlaine the Great. Robotics, mapping inside buildings, artificial intelligence, medical research… this is a company with a finger in every pie and a desire to own the whole slice of the pie at the same time it is having its cake and eating it.

And as the Motorola smartphone purchase and exit has shown, it doesn’t mind if the deals don’t work out as planned. All of this raises familiar questions, of course. Why is Google casting its net so wide? What is it collecting? And what will it do with the resulting data it ‘owns’?

These are honourable lines of interrogation but, to risk the opprobrium of privacy groups everywhere, isn’t its scattergun pursuit of the world’s most brilliant ideas, people and organisations not rather thrilling in its audacity and dizzying ambition?

 

Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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