15 Years of Acquisitions by 5 Tech Giants: Visualised

Posted by Sophie Figgis
28-Feb-2014 15:06:00

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The recent acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook for $19 billion dollars, on top of the huge recent growth of acquisitions of start-ups, has had us all wondering what is going through the collective minds of the big tech giants. What makes a company - even one so large as Facebook - make the decision to fork out such huge sums of money to swallow up this new talent? And will there be an end to it?

This data visualisation by Simply Business shows us the last 15 years of acquisitions from Apple, Amazon, Google, Yahoo and Facebook, and gives us the opportunity for some small insight into the minds of the leaders in Tech. We can see the huge diversity in strategies from company to company, as Steve Jobs steered Apple away from acquisitions in his belief in internal innovation, compared with Google's rampant consumption of startups in its most recent years.

The data is organised by type as well as company and date, allowing us to clearly see the shift in focus from search ad advertising to social, and clicking through to the interactive version of the diagram will allow you to filter by category to get a deeper understanding of what areas of technology are being coveted by each company - and potentially shows us the direction each company has taken in establishing themselves as the top dogs in their field.

While What's App takes the prize for the biggest acquisition of the lot, here are the top 5 acquisitions over the past 15 years for each of the tech giants:

  1. Facebook - What's App, 2014 ($19bn)
  2. Google - Motorola Mobility, 2012 ($12.5bn)
  3. Yahoo - Broadcast.com, 1999 ($5bn)
  4. Amazon - Zappos, 2009 ($900m)
  5. Apple - Anobit, 2011 ($390m)


Click image to see the interactive version (via Simply Business).

No doubt with the recent explosion of start-ups all round the globe, there will be many more acquisitions to be made over the next few years, but who and what do you think they will be? And will any new giants emerge or will they all keep being swallowed up?