Nov. 19, 2015, 5:21 PM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has bought Bebop Technologies, a stealth-mode startup that has been working on an enterprise cloud app development platform, and which was founded by VMware co-founder and Google board member Diane Greene.
- Greene will now lead a new unit containing all of Google's cloud businesses, including Google Apps (productivity apps), Google for Work (custom versions of Google products for enterprises), and the Google Cloud Platform (cloud infrastructure and app platform services). CEO Sundar Pichai declares the move will "bring together product, engineering, marketing and sales and allow us to operate in a much more integrated, coordinated fashion."
- Pichai provides some vague details regarding Bebop: "[B]ebop is a new development platform that makes it easy to build and maintain enterprise applications ... bebop and its stellar team will help us provide integrated cloud products at every level: end-user platforms like Android and Chromebooks, infrastructure and services in Google Cloud Platform, developer frameworks for mobile and enterprise users, and end-user applications like Gmail and Docs."
- The move comes shortly after Google SVP Urs Hölze proclaimed (in remarks that may or may not have been blessed by Google's brass) the company's Cloud Platform revenue could surpass its ad revenue in five years. With 90% of Google's Q3 revenue coming from ads (and much of the rest from hardware, Google Play, etc.), that could prove a tall order.
- Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) fell 6.1% in regular trading, with Hölze's remarks having been mentioned as a potential culprit. Stifel defended Rackspace, arguing the remarks were misunderstood and that Rackspace will eventually strike a deal to provide managed services for Google's cloud offerings, much as it has with Amazon and Microsoft.
- Synergy Research estimates Google is the 4th-largest player in the in the broader market for public, private, and hybrid cloud services, trailing IBM, Microsoft, and 800-lb. gorilla Amazon. The company has tried to differentiate its cloud offerings by emphasizing developer needs; the Bebop acquisition fits with that effort.
May 27, 2015, 2:47 AM
- Several other Internet giants reached out and held early discussions about buying Flipboard in recent weeks, including Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL), although those talks involved ideas around how products would be integrated rather than centering around price, sources told WSJ.
- Talks with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) went further, discussing a $1B+ all-stock deal, but those negotiations have largely stalled since April.
- Previously: Report: Twitter held talks to buy Flipboard for over $1B (May. 25 2015)
Apr. 20, 2015, 9:51 AM
- What could have been: With Tesla (TSLA -0.5%) in dire straits in March 2013 as the company struggled to fix Model S bugs and convert pre-orders into actual sales, Elon Musk reached out to Larry Page and "proposed that Google (GOOG +1.6%) buy Tesla outright," Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance reports through an excerpt from a Musk book due out on May 19.
- Vance adds Tesla would've cost Google $6B at the time after factoring "a healthy premium" - Tesla's market cap is currently $25.9B. As part of the deal, Musk wanted Google to promise to invest $5B in factory expansions and let Musk run Tesla for 8 years, until it was ready to launch a mass-market car.
- While "Musk, Page, and Google’s lawyers negotiated the specific terms of the deal" in the following weeks, Tesla's Model S sales began to take off, and the company posted its first profit and repaid its DOE loan. No longer needing a white knight, Musk broke off talks.
- A $6B Tesla acquisition would've been one of Google's largest, surpassed in size only by Motorola Mobility. Google, of course, has kept pushing ahead with its self-driving car efforts since 2013; the company has said it's talking with GM, Ford, Toyota, and others about bringing a self-driving car to market by 2020. Tesla has some interest in this space as well.
- Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Musk met with Apple M&A execs in 2013. Apple's reported car efforts have fueled fresh speculation the company will make a bid for Tesla.
Mar. 11, 2015, 4:10 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is in talks to buy Bangalore-based start-up InMobi, a mobile advertising network that claims to have over 1B users across 200 countries.
- Although financial specifics are still to be discussed, InMobi had been looking for a valuation of over $2B in its discussions with investors for its next round of funding.
Mar. 4, 2015, 1:58 PM
- A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
- The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
- There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
Jan. 18, 2015, 12:57 PM
- TechCrunch reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is interested in acquiring Softcard, the mobile payments platform launched by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in 2010 - it was previously known as Isis, before changing its name for obvious reasons. Though Softcard's owners have invested hundreds of millions in the venture, sources state Google's purchase price could be below $100M.
- Like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Softcard relies on NFC radios to enable transactions. And like Wallet, it has struggled to get off the ground, as U.S. consumers overwhelmingly stick with card swipes. Hard data on Apple Pay usage remains limited for now.
- Softcard recently laid off 60 employees. Meanwhile, it was reported in 2013 that Google had spent $300M on Wallet-related acquisitions, with little to show for it. The adoption of EMV (chip-and-PIN) readers by U.S. retailers could give NFC solutions a boost, by making card payments a little less convenient.
- The WSJ reports Google is partnering with consulting giant PwC to bid on a $2B+ contract to update the DoD's electronic health records system. PwC says Google's tools could both improve the system's security and performance, and lower costs. A group featuring IBM, HP (NYSE:HPQ), and CSC has made a rival bid.
- Ad tech firm Marin Software (NYSE:MRIN) provides some encouraging mobile search data ahead of Google's Jan. 29 Q4 report. A Marin study found mobile accounted for 49% of Q4 U.S. search ad spend, up from 42% in Q3, and that smartphone ad click rates were 38% higher than PC rates (thanks in part to accidental clicks?). On the other hand, mobile still only accounted for 32% of conversions.
- Medium writer Backchannel provides a deep dive into Google Search's evolution in an era where users increasingly want search engines to know the precise meaning of their queries. Part 1 looks at Google's efforts to optimize for mobile (aided by its Knowledge Graph and Google Now). Part 2 looks at Google's real-world research into the information needs of users. Part 3 looks at Google's investments in A.I./deep learning to deliver far more intelligent search results and spontaneously surface useful information.
Aug. 26, 2014, 12:49 PM
- Google (GOOG -0.5%) was unable to buy Twitch due to concerns about "potential antitrust issues" related to the acquisition, Forbes reports. Due to the antitrust issues (stemming from Google's ownership of YouTube), the companies reportedly couldn't agree on a breakup fee.
- Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN +2.4%) is rallying amid favorable reviews for the Twitch acquisition. Analyst Jan Dawson sees Twitch expanding Amazon's advertising scale and drawing in new customers, and thinks its streaming tech could strengthen other Amazon services. "Amazon is clearly taking digital media very seriously, and spending heavily to fund it."
- The Verge's Ben Popper observes Twitch will get to make full use of AWS, and will now have Amazon's resources to help with licensing. VC Ethan Kurzweil (a Twitch investor) thinks non-gaming use cases are possible. "We think that Amazon is investing here in Internet infrastructure and something more than gaming media ... What Twitch has really built here is a video-based community around any activity."
- Yesterday: Amazon buying Twitch for $970M in cash
Aug. 25, 2014, 1:41 PM
- The Information reports Amazon (AMZN +1%) "has been in late-stage talks" to acquire popular game-broadcasting platform Twitch, and could announce a deal shortly. Prior reports stated Google (GOOG -0.4%) was close to a deal to buy Twitch for ~$1B, or had fully reached one.
- Twitch, whose platform allows users to live-stream their gaming activity (along with running commentary), has 50M+ users and a network of 4K+ content provider partners. The startup claims its average user watches 95 minutes/day of content.
- Buying Twitch would represent a major investment by Amazon in free (ad-supported) online video. Thus far, the bulk of the company's Web video investments have been directed towards Prime Instant Video. Amazon has also been fleshing out its own game studio.
- The Information's report shortly follows a WSJ report stating Amazon is working on a keyword-based ad platform (called Sponsored Links) that aims to replace ads based on Google's bread-and-butter AdWords keyword platform on Amazon's site and elsewhere. Amazon has already built up a sizable ad business, aided by its volumes of customer data.
- Update (2:05PM): The WSJ reports Amazon has agreed to buy Twitch for $1B+.
Aug. 22, 2014, 2:42 PM
- Gecko Design is an 18-year-old product design/engineering firm that has done work for Dell, H-P, Logitech, and Herman Miller, among others. As usual, Google (GOOG - unchanged) hasn't disclosed an acquisition price.
- Gecko will be joining Sergey Brin's secretive Google X unit. Google X projects for which Gecko's hardware skills could be of value include Glass (still awaiting a full commercial launch) and Google's self-driving car effort.
- Google has already been working with eyewear vendors to make Glass more aesthetically pleasing (and less conspicuous). Meanwhile, the company showed off its first internally-designed self-driving car prototypes in May; they have no steering wheels or pedals.
Aug. 7, 2014, 2:54 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is now giving better search rankings to Web pages that are encrypted.
- The company hopes that its new search algorithm will make the Web more secure, and encourage developers to better protect websites and information.
- Separately, Google's YouTube division announced yesterday that it had acquired Directr, an app used by small businesses to create marketing videos.
Aug. 6, 2014, 2:59 PM
- Google (GOOG +0.4%) has acquired Emu, a mobile messaging/SMS app that tries to stand out by integrating a virtual assistant service.
- With the help of A.I., Emu analyzes conversations to help schedule appointments, make reservations, pull up movie info, and share one's location, among other things (shades of Google Now). CEO Gummi Hafsteinsson: "I felt that you kind of had to engage [Apple's] Siri all the time, and I wanted to create an assistant that was more in the background and proactive."
- Mobile messaging has been seen as a weak spot for Google, given the huge user bases claimed by 3rd-party platforms such as WhatsApp (500M+ active users), Line, WeChat, iMessage, BBM, and Facebook Messenger. Google was rumored to have shown interest in WhatsApp before Facebook struck a $19B deal to acquire it, but has denied making a bid.
- Though Google bundles its Hangouts app (integrated Gchat, SMS, and video calls) with Android phones, reviews have been mixed. Emu's technology appears a logical fit for future Hangouts releases.
Jul. 24, 2014, 5:11 PM
- VentureBeat reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached a deal to buy live game-broadcast/streaming leader Twitch for ~$1B.
- Variety and The Verge reported in May Google, via YouTube, was in talks to acquire Twitch for $1B. The site claims 50M+ monthly users, including over 1.1M who broadcast their gaming activity, and has 4K+ content provider partners (inc. major sites such as GameSpot and Joystiq) whom it typically shares ad revenue with.
- Twitch has thus far successfully fended off a competitive challenge from YouTube, which reportedly had $1.5B in 2013 net revenue and is now run by former Google ad/commerce product chief Susan Wojcicki. Twitch's heavy reliance on the coveted 18-34 demographic hasn't gone unnoticed.
Jul. 1, 2014, 4:15 PM
- Google (GOOG +1.3%) says it will "explore ways" to integrate Songza, whose Android/iOS apps (5.5M MAUs) deliver human-curated music stations based on mood and activity, with Google Play Music. "We view the Songza acquisition as a way to further enhance our radio feature by adding their expertise on context."
- The Web giant adds it will also look at ways to use Songza's curation/music recommendation expertise within YouTube and other products. Google has already announced plans to launch a YouTube music subscription service later this summer.
- No purchase price is given for the deal. The NY Post previously reported Google had offered $15M.
- Pandora (P), which currently has 77M active users to Songza's 5.5M, is down 2.1% AH.
- Update: The NYT reports Google paid more than $39M for Songza.
Jun. 20, 2014, 10:05 PM
- Google's (GOOG) Nest Labs agrees to buy video monitoring and security startup Dropcam for $555M, in a push to become the dominant operating system for connected devices in and around the home.
- Nest, which makes smart thermostat and smoke alarms, will work with Dropcam to "reinvent products that will help shape the future of the conscious home," Nest's Matt Rogers says.
- Nest was bought by GOOG earlier this year for $3.2B.
Jun. 19, 2014, 2:43 PM
- mDialog's Smart Stream platform inserts, delivers, and measures the performance of targeted online video ads over multiple device types (PCs, TVs, mobile). Clients include NBC, Fox, and the WSJ.
- Google's (GOOG -0.3%) DoubleClick unit says it'll "work with the mDialog team to incorporate their technology and expertise into our DoubleClick product suite." Google already sells an estimated $5B+/year in video ads via YouTube, and is now making a stronger push to grow video ad sales on non-Google properties.
- The Web giant bought ad measurement tech provider Adometry in May. Tremor Video (TRMR +1%) and YuMe (YUME -2.7%) are two independent, publicly-traded, video ad tech plays.
- Previous: YouTube, others go after TV ad dollars
Jun. 10, 2014, 1:42 PM
- The acquisition price for the satellite imagery/analytics provider is well below the ~$1B mentioned in a prior TechCrunch report.
- Google (GOOG -0.5%) declares Skybox's satellites "will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery," and could also be used in time to "help improve Internet access and disaster relief ."
- The deal comes barely a week after the WSJ reported Google plans to spend ~$1B to $3B+ to build a satellite fleet to provide Web access to underserved regions. Skybox, for its part, has already placed an order for 13 small satellites to complement one that it's in the air and another that's set to launch.
- Google Maps/Earth imagery provider DigitalGlobe (DGI -2.5%) has dipped on the news.