June 28, 2019 Last updated June 27th, 2019 1,068 Reads share

Tech Acquisitions Over 10 Years: Who’s leading?

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The technology industry is the sector of the 21st century. Responsible for bringing the world into the digital age, technology has enabled a breadth of businesses and services to improve their products, processes and customer satisfaction. With new advancements taking place every single second of each day, the industry is also one of the most competitive, as companies have to constantly work to ensure they are up to date with the latest research and innovation, which they do through tech acquisitions.

The biggest tech giants lead the way for the rest of the industry when it comes to innovation and research. Successful for different services and products, from browsing the web, staying in contact with friends online, communicating using the most impressive gadgets and ordering practically anything we want with just a few clicks or swipes on our devices, the tech giants are known to most across the globe. Whilst the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are the most successful tech companies in the world in the present day, they are aware they need to work to maintain their position and stay at the top of the leaderboard by acquiring businesses.

In order to remain at the forefront in their industry, tech giants are investing staggering sums of money to future proof their business in what can be an uncertain world of technology, where there remains an endless amount of research and improvement to discover. With nobody safe, the biggest tech players are acquiring a range of companies to boost their portfolio and increase their market share, all in order to stay at the top of the game,

But who is leading the way in the mission to acquisition in the tech industry? RS Components have created a graphic to reveal the acquisitions of the biggest tech giants over the last decade to see who is making the most effort to remain at the top of the sector.

The companies that have acquired the most businesses in the last decade are:

  1. Google – 182 companies
  2. Microsoft – 89 companies
  3. IBM – 87 companies
  4. Cisco Systems – 81 companies
  5. Apple – 81 companies

tech graphic

Over the last decade, Google has emerged as the clear leader of the industry when it comes to tech acquisitions, with a whopping 182 businesses purchased. This figure is over double any other company including Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook. Google’s acquisitions are three times greater than Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.

Over the last 10 years, Google has acquired a breadth of businesses, from Waze – the mobile navigation app, to Eyefluence – which has developed the first eye-interaction technology for AR, VR and MR devices. The most expensive business Google acquired was back in 2012 with Motorola Mobility which they purchased for a mind-blowing $12.5 billion. YouTube was the third biggest to acquire at $1.7 billion.

Google holds the highest tech acquisitions from across the world. The giant is also acquiring companies from across the world, with one of the most recent businesses acquired providing train updates in India, named Where is My Train, purchased in December last year. The variety and steady acquisitions Google has made in the last decade have paid off with them positioned way beyond the rest of their other tech giants.

with one of the most recent businesses acquired providing train updates in India, named Where is My Train, purchased in December last year. The variety and steady acquisitions Google has made in the last decade have paid off with them positioned way beyond the rest of their other tech giants.

In second place is Microsoft with 89 companies acquired in the last decade. In 2018, Microsoft leads the way and purchased the most companies at 16, whereas Google acquired 9. In third is IBM at 87 and Apple at 81.

At the bottom of the leaderboard sits HP Inc, which in the last decade acquired just 19 companies. Google purchased more companies than this total in 2010 and 2014 alone. Twitter and eBay sit in the latter half of the leaderboard with 49 companies acquired in the last decade.

With Amazon founded by the world’s richest man on Earth, is Bezos going to step up his game in the mission of tech acquisitions?

Amazon just makes it into the top 10 companies with the most acquisitions, ranking 9th with a 10 year total of 49. Amazon has purchased companies at a staggering rate over the last 10 years, averaging around half way in 2009 and 2010. 2015 and 2018 saw Amazon purchase its highest number of companies at 8 in each year. The average number of companies bought by this tech giant sits just under 5, which is just under the halfway point on the leaderboard. Twitter also has an average of just under 5, with the two companies beating the likes of Samsung and Ebay.

Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and Cisco Systems have all averaged between 8 and 9 companies acquired per year over the last decade, with Microsoft beating IBM to the top slightly. With the results so close between these tech giants, it is safe to say there is a lot of competition between the four, and anything could happen in the next year, let alone decade to the ranks on the leaderboard.

Since 2009, Microsoft and many other companies have significantly increased the number of companies they acquire each year showing the importance of doing this to stay at the forefront of the industry. Interestingly, Google’s acquisitions each year have ranged quite significantly with the highest figure being in 2014 where they purchased 31 companies, to the minimum which was 7 in 2009. What has made Google take the crown then is how early they were at investing in other companies, as companies such as Facebook, eBay, and Twitter acquired just 1 company in 2009, compared to Google’s 7. The results speak for themselves and show Google to have been one step ahead of the rest of the industry in its acquisitions.

Who will be leading the tech acquisitions in the next decade?

Business and Mergers

Marina Plummer

Marina Plummer

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