A look at the present technology landscape reveals that a few companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, and Google are all competing for the same sorts of revenue: advertising, search, location and to some extent, mobile hardware. However, looking into the future of the technology landscape, we can only see Google dominating or at least gearing up to dominate.
Statistics show that since 2010, Google has been acquiring more than one company per month on an average. Last year alone, the company acquired more than a dozen of major technology hardware companies that were working on projects which seemed too ahead of the present but could easily fit in our not-too-distant future.
The Internet search engine behemoth recently acquired Nest Labs, which makes Internet-connected home devices like thermostat and smoke alarm, for $3.2 billion in cash. The Nest deal follows the acquisition of mobile mapping software maker Waze Inc. for around $1 billion in cash.
Google's biggest acquisition has been the $12.4 billion deal for Motorola Mobility in 2012 that included a portfolio of the latter's wireless patents.
Lately, Google has also shown interest in robotics, an interest that drove it to acquire Boston Dynamics that builds spectacular and terrifying robots, and Holomni, a small design firm that makes high-tech robotic wheels. In total, the search engine giant has acquired eight robotics companies in the past six months.
Google is also way ahead of its rivals when it comes to loosening its purse strings on acquisitions. The search engine giant has reportedly spent a total of $17 billion on acquiring hardware, software and adtech companies in the last two years. In comparison, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Yahoo have spent a total of $13 billion combined within the same period.
"They're trying to solve bigger longer-term problems, and to do that they need platforms," said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. "They're willing to pay up for those platforms."
Google's shopping spree, especially the acquisition of Nest, has also caught the attention of Walter Isaacon, the biographer of the later Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. "Google buying Nest shows an amazingly strong, integrated strategy that Google has to connect all of our devices, all of our lives ... the Internet of things is actually real, there are these devices we're gonna want to have and Google's going to get ahead of that game," Isaacson said.
It was a clever move, Isaason said, because Nest co-founder Tony Fadell, credited with creating the iPod, will now be joining Google's team. "Fadell was one of the team that created the iPod. He was very deep into the Apple culture ... when Apple was so innovative ... Now Tony Fadell is going to Google because he's part of the Nest deal," he said.
Apparently, the Nest deal has also not gone down well with Apple as Phil Schiller, the company's senior vice president of marketing, has decided to unfollow Fadell on Twitter.