One of the big clichés about Silicon Valley corporations is that they are extremely good at being innovative. They hire the best people, pay them the highest salaries and constantly launch new, cutting-edge products. But do these products actually come from in-house innovation?
Contrary to popular belief outside the valley, Google’s only original, disruptive technology is… well, Google! The search engine!
“But what about Android, the open-source, mobile platform that has disrupted the entire smartphone industry?”
– Acquired from someone else in 2005.
“What about Youtube, the personal video platform that by 2014 accounted for an astonishing 13% of all online video streaming in the US?”
– Acquired from someone else in 2006.
“What about Google Maps, the online map service that is thought to be so precise that in 2010, a Nicaraguan military commander invaded an island between Nicaragua and Costa Rica because Google Maps depicted that it belonged to Nicaragua (which later turned out to be incorrect)?”
– Acquired from two Danish inventors, Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen, in 2004.
Actually, Google has made 137 acquisitions since 2010 and 193 in total. And when open-source software company Cloudera strikes gold, Google executives applause based on their $900M investment in the company. $254M went to Uber from Google, the first of which is now valuated at over $50B.
On a similar note, Facebook is known for having acquired Instagram and Whatsapp, but the corporate giant has in fact bought 62 companies since 2007. This supplements various investments in e.g. Air B’n’B, which hit a stunning $1.5B deal with Facebook to support their global growth just a few months ago.
And the very old fish in the dam? Well, let’s just say that a company such as Intel is on the hunt. Their investment team in Intel Ventures has a total portfolio of 1509 investments.
So; if you are afraid that a large Silicon Valley corporation might suddenly decide to enter your business area and smash you off the field, do not worry. Chances are that they will acquire you and entitle your company “our own, precious innovation”.