Google has just announced the acquisition of HTC’s design and engineering divisions for $1.1 billion. While that may not be a whopping amount by Google standards the search giant paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility back in 2011 it does add to Google’s ever-growing list of acquisitions. Analyst estimates suggest that Google has bought close to 150 small-and-big companies since the time it went public in mid-2004. Some have been flops as in the case of Motorola (which Google eventually sold at one-fourth the price it paid), while some others have been blockbusters like YouTube and Android that have taken over the world and how. Also Read - Pokemon Unite was the most downloaded mobile game globally in Sep with approx 33 million installsAlso Read - Vivo Y3s (2021) with MediaTek Helio P35 SoC launched in India, priced under Rs 10,000
After Google acquired Motorola’s hardware division, the latter messed up not only product releases but also OS updates. It also failed to innovate and struggled to address user complaints on phone performance. The tech world now counts the Google-Motorola deal among the worst acquisitions of all time. “The Google and Motorola Mobility merger failed on so many levels that it’s hard to quantify the extent of the incompetence that surrounds it. To add insult to injury Google continued to release its own branded smartphones, which begged the question of what the Silicon Valley search giant really intended to do with Motorola,” ZDNet wrote. ALSO READ: Google acquires HTC s smartphone team for $1.1 billion Also Read - How to record screen on your Android phone
Here’s a timeline of Google’s marquee acquisitions over the years.
Unlike with Motorola, Google spun magic with YouTube. Online video is gold dust in the tech world now. And Google placed its $1.65 billion bet on a user-generated video platform more than a decade ago. Now, YouTube generates close to $10 billion annually in advertising revenues for Google. More importantly, YouTube is critical for Google search. “[YouTube] makes the core Google search product better by giving Google more data about which videos are most relevant to Google queries. It also captures significant search share as its own search portal,” Dave King, Product Manager, YouTube, wrote on Quora.
Google managed to replicate the YouTube success with Android a platform it acquired from Andy Rubin (who’s now floating his own smartphone Essential) in 2005 for a paltry $50 million. Today, Android powers more than 80 percent of the smartphone universe, and is a “rain-maker for Google, helping drive activity on search and email that Google can then monetize,” according to a CB Insights report. It has been touted as the best acquisition Google has ever made. “It is also one of the best tech acquisitions of all time,” adds the report. ALSO READ: Google acquires Owlchemy Labs, a virtual reality gaming company
Some of the other notable acquisitions include DoubleClick (an advertising software provider that has helped Google dominate the display advertising market), Waze (an Israeli GPS navigation app that powers Google Maps), Applied Semantics (that created Google’s uber-successful AdSense product for digital marketers), Nest (a thermostat-maker that is now furthering Google’s ambitions in the smart home market), DeepMind (that is fueling AI projects at Google) and many more. Given Google’s $61 billion cash-pile, acquisitions are likely to continue.