10 Most Expensive Acquisitions In Recent Tech History

Posted by Harshad

10 Most Expensive Acquisitions In Recent Tech History

10 Most Expensive Acquisitions In Recent Tech History

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 07:01 AM PST

There are many reasons why tech acquisitions happen: to acquire talent, to shut down a rising competitor, to gain access and ownership to patents, equipment, technologies etc, and at the very least, it is great fodder for the media. These acquisitions usually come with a hefty price tag, but the truth is that not all of them have good ROI.

Google Motorola
(Image Source: smh)

Despite the mind-boggling sum of $19 billion, Facebook buying WhatsApp may not exactly be the biggest acquisition in known history (see here for some of the biggest numbers in a variety of relatable categories).

In today’s post, we’re counting down the biggest billion-dollar acquisitions that has happened in recent years. Just for fun, we’re throwing in what else you could buy for the same price tag (just to put things into perspective).

1. Facebook Buys WhatsApp ($19 billion)

For the ridiculous price of $19bil, Facebook is buying more than just an app. Facebook is getting access to WhatsApp’s 450 million users, minus the 500,000 that have migrated to Telegram, and the 200,000 to Threema, and countless other migrations that nonetheless aren’t even touching the grand bulk of users sticking to WhatsApp.

(Image Source: scmp)

If anything killed SMS, it was WhatsApp with its handy, dependable and professional approach to mobile messaging, so much so that SingTel CEO is considering charging the likes of WhatsApp and Skype for the use of their networks. WhatsApp also spurred a motherload of alternatives, and many new ones are recently coming out from China to take a chunk of the mobile messaging market.

2. Google Buys Motorola Mobility ($12.5 billion)

Before Facebook made the deal of the decade though, Google held that crown with an acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 (finalised in 2012) for $12.5 billion. From the deal, Google secured a bargaining chip against Apple in the form of 17,000 patents including patents for wireless communication technologies.

(Image Source: Yahoo! Finance)

Earlier in mid-2011, Google had also acquired 1000 IBM patents mostly related to hardware but lost out on 6,000 patents in telecommunication and networking patents from Nortel. Nortel had sold out to a group of tech companies including Apple and Microsoft, instead of only to Google, raking in $4.5 billion in the process.

Google had since sold off Motorola Home for $2.35 billion and Motorola’s smartphone division (plus 2,000 patents) to Lenovo for $2.91 billion but in return had triggered and aided in the fascinating growth of Android at an unprecedented scale.

3. HP Buys Autonomy ($10.3 billion)

After having bought Compaq for $17.6 billion in 2002, HP was on course to make another $10-billion sale with Autonomy, an enterprise software company, in 2011. Later, near the end of 2012, HP admitted that they had overpaid for the company, citing the reason being Autonomy had been cooking their books (which they denied).

A writedown of $8.8 billion was reported, $5 billion of which they said was caused by the accounting discrepancies. HP executives reportedly knew about the British software maker’s inappropriate accounting activities yet did not inform the board, allowing the deal to slip through.

HP Autonomy
(Image Source: LA Times)

The CEO in charge, of the deal, Leo Apotheker, had since been sacked, and when Autonomy failed to reach revenue targets, its founder and CEO, Mike Lynch was fired as well. Lynch who had built Autonomy for 10 years, denied the allegations and instead puts the blame on petty infighting in HP. With everyone pointing fingers at everyone, the fight is far from over.

4. Microsoft Buys Skype ($8.5 billion)

Before Microsoft bought Skype in mid-2011, Skype was briefly owned by eBay in 2005 for $3.1 billion. EBay sold it off to a private investor at a 40% loss but when Google and Facebook came a-knocking, Microsoft swooped and welcomed Skype into the family for $8.56 billion. Although it had a smaller user base than Windows’s own Live Messenger (roughly a third at the time of the acquisition), Skype had 8 million paying customers.

Microsoft Skype
(Image Source: The Guardian)

Since then, Skype is pre-installed on every Windows device and is the channel one-third of the world’s video calls are on. It also brought in close to $800 million in 2012, which hardly contributed to Microsoft’s overall earnings, but it is still a lot better than Microsoft’s acquisition of online advertising company, aQuantive in a 2007 $6.3 billion deal. Let’s just say online advertising is still out of Microsoft’s grasp.

5. Oracle Buys Sun Microsystems ($7.4 billion)

Upon buying Sun Microsystems, Oracle took over ownership for Java, the Solaris Operating System and MySQL (considered a threat to Oracle’s business), which Sun had bought two years prior for $1 billion. The move effectively kept Java away from IBM’s clutches but saw the loss of key engineers in Sun, including creator of Java, James Gosling, creator of XML, Tim Bray, CEO Jonathan Schwartz and Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer, Simon Phipps.

Oracle Sun
(Image Source: Investors.com)

In August 2010, Oracle, locked and loaded, sued Google for "copyright and patent infringement" over the use of Java in its Android platform. It was looking for $6.1 billion in damages but when a jury found that Google was not guilty of infringement, only "a small amount of literal code copying", Oracle agreed to "zero" damages, saying it wants to focus on filing for an appeal instead.

6. Microsoft Buys Nokia ($7.2 billion)

Once the no.1 cellphone manufacturer in the world, Nokia sold its mobile phone unit to Microsoft for more than $7 billion in mid-2013. Also included are Nokia’s patent portfolio, mapping services, around 32,000 employees and a chance for Microsoft to break into the mobile device and services market via the Lumia and Asha brands.

Microsoft Nokia
(Image Source: The Verge)

Conspiracy theorists quickly noted the involvement of Stephen Elop in the decision to merge Nokia’s hardware and distribution channels with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Previously an executive of Microsoft, Elop was CEO at Nokia during the acquisition and will become the head of Microsoft’s devices team upon completion of the deal.

Another theory was that Nokia was at the verge of dumping Windows Phone and Microsoft had no other choice but to buy the one last vessel that carry Windows Phone.

7. Google Buys Nest Labs ($3.2 billion)

What in the world could Google possibly want with thermostats and smoke detectors when it could already is the world’s biggest search engine, and has an array of news-generating products – Chromecast, Chromebook, Android OS, Google Nexus and Google Glass – to its name? Possibly the next big thing to change the world.

Google Nest
(Image Source: Business Insider)

The co-founder of Nest is none other than Tony Fadell, creator of the iPod and he is set to change your home into a "conscious home". Google believes that technology should be working hard for people, while people should be getting on with their lives. Nest’s products aims to make that a reality, by creating smart products that can make decisions by learning your behaviour and interacting with you, inside your home. Creepy… yet exciting!

8. Dell Buys Quest Software ($2.4 billion)

Quest Software is a leader in enterprise software solutions comprising of database management, data protection, Windows server management as well as identity and access management. In light of the decline in hardware and personal computer sales, Dell outbid rivals with a $2.4 billion offer to acquire Quest.

Dell Quest
(Image Source: John Anthony Signs)

It hopes to push its software business sales to up to $1.2 billion per annum with the help of Quest, which has 3850 employees and 60 offices in 23 countries. Dell is also reported to have made 19 acquisitions in the past 4 years including for a storage protection solution company, Credant Technologies (undisclosed), and a network and data security provider, SonicWall for $1.2 billion.

9. Yahoo! Buys Tumblr ($1.1 billion)

Marissa Mayer joined Yahoo! in July, 2012 and began a shopping spree that involved a variety of startups including Rockmelt, Aviate and the one with the biggest price tag, Tumblr. So far, it has shown no signs of slowing down. It is home to 173.4 million blogs and already has 78 billion posts. Tumblr is essentially Yahoo’s lifeline to young adults, and while Tumblr has yet to show any returns, Mayer could change all that with ads in 2014.

Yahoo Tumblr
(Image Source: Business Insider)

Aside from trying to figure out how to monetize ads in a way that doesn’t take away from the Tumblr user experience, Yahoo has to deal with Tumblr pages that are not safe for work (NSFW). For the former, it is possible that another startup company, Swoop, may be called in to deliver. Using data provided by the users themselves, Swoop engages in contextual advertising to ensure you are served ads of things you are interested in. Check this post for more details.

10. Facebook Buys Instagram ($1 billion)

After all that, Facebook buying Instagram, a photo-sharing app for a billion dollars (pfft) sounds like child’s play (perspective, right?). In any case, Facebook has been buy startups left, right and center mostly to acquire new talent, and like how Google does it, a lot of these acquired startups are bought then shut down (Snapchat knew what was coming).

Facebook Instagram
(Image Source: Bloomberg)

One of the exceptions, however, was Instagram. Since the acquisition in April 2012, Instagram has a marked growth of 23% in 2013 and has announced that it would be introducing advertising to the platform. Possibly the most influential app to popularize selfies and hashtags, Instagram’s fame had also spurred many third-party apps that allow users to extend Instagram beyond its use of photographic filters.


The 7 Sins Of Guest Blogging (Based On True Events)

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 05:01 AM PST

I totally understand why Matt Cutts is pissed with how guest blogging is turning out – a complete pain in the rear. The culprit that triggered the response was an unsolicited email that offered to pay for a post to show up in his blog, and in return they ask for 2 (spammy) backlinks. Smooth, guys. Real smooth.

(Image Source: techndgadgetnews)

Granted that many multi-authored blogs depend on (ok, maybe welcome?) guest bloggers submitting in their insights and advice, there are some things that some guest bloggers do that really, really push all the wrong buttons. The basic ones are already covered in this post 10 tips to distinguish good guest posts from the bad but it is more fun when you have real-life accounts to share with everyone.

Let’s just say truth is way stranger than fiction. *(No real names were used in these stories because… I can’t remember any of them.)

1. You overlook small but real important things

There are a few things that really gets you off on a bad start, the moment it turns up in your pitch. If you have like an 80% chance of making a good impression, these will cut that down to half, almost instantly.

I Can Spellz?

One thing is misspelling things like your liaison’s name (for instance, mine), the site owner’s name, the blog name (if I get a nickel for every time people refer to us as Honkiat), your own post title, popular brands like "Facebook" and "Google" or basically, anything inside your email pitch.

These are small problems, but if your situation is near that last straw on the camel’s back, this is what’s breaking those humps apart.

Don’t Diss The Reader

Secondly, you talk down to whomever that’s reading your post. Inside the post you use words like, "WRONG!", "That is a ridiculous way to design a site," "Are you stupid?". If you’re not going to say it out loud (due to common sense, not shyness) why in blazes would you put that in a post that is supposed to impress the person(s) reading it?

The last thing anyone should be doing is getting on the wrong side of the Internet. Period.

2. You are Inexplicably Rude

Rude guest bloggers exist – like kids who throw fits because their parents got their iPhone in the wrong color, they shouldn’t. You don’t get to write in and say "here is my 1,500 essay on woolly mammoths… check it… make sure it is published." No. Trust me, if we publish just anything we get in the mail, you don’t want us to publish you.

(Image Source: bloggingwithdani)

After getting a rejection email, don’t demand to know what kind of title that can ensure you get published. These blogs are not here to make sure you get published.

Be Professional About It

But if you submit a really good guest blog, like this one, or this one, or this or this, we will be contacting you and arranging to put the post in queue for publication.

Additionally, each of the contributors of those highlighted posts were a delight to work with. They were accommodating and patient, very professional, and will make any changes required to make sure we can help them put their work up on the site. They "get it" that this guest blogging thing is the result of an alliance, not a take-it-or-leave-it.

3. Your pitch was way off-key

If I could tell you stories about the submissions I received, I’d talk about the time when I got submissions about hiking trips in Nepal, why Hitler needs your love, hotel bookings in Mumbai, how to get out of a traffic ticket, an actual business portfolio, how to choose a receptionist, how to buy lingerie online in India, how much it costs to refurbish your office etc, but I can’t.

If you go to a tech site and read about how to change a car tyre, you’d raise an eyebrow too. So before submitting your post to a blog, take a minute to think if it will be something you expect to read on the site (from a reader’s POV). If it is not, don’t submit it.

If you submit it, don’t expect a reply because if you couldn’t be bothered, don’t expect the blog owner to be bothered either.

4. You want Fast Answers

The thing about visiting guests is that the hosts go out of their way to make things comfortable for them – that’s called hospitality. Even when you are visiting your Aunt Ellen, you don’t expect her family to wait on you, hand and foot. They have lives to lead, schools and jobs to lug themselves to and at the least, errands to run.

It is the same with guest blogging. Most blogs work on a publication schedule, which is why you get "regular" updates at the same time every day. It’s organized and efficient. To achieve that, a lot of things happen in the background. Long story short, your guest blog, no matter how important it is to you, is a "guest" in the mix. And pushy guests can really make the blog owner wonder if it is worth putting up with their demands.

Everything can still go smoothly on the blog without your submission, so it would be good to not throw a diva fit. If you are really that good, some blogs may put up with you but again, there is only room for one diva, and if Aunt Ellen can kick you out of her home, she gets to be the diva.

5. You do Everything except guest blog

The idea behind receiving guest bloggers is to get good content and in return, you, the awesome author, get great exposure of your work and what you do (and if you are lucky, the readers may click in to check out your site or product).

But when you come in asking to exchange links, or to pay the blog to publish your post, or to demand a backlink (not ask, demand), it’s hard to expect blog owners to be courteous with your requests. If you want to throw money about, do check out the site’s advertising options. Big writing teams that "can write anything you want" can consider setting up their own blogging site (the way I see it, they already have the writing team, so technically they’re halfway there).

Guest blogging is a win-win situation for the author and the blog owner. It’s a beautiful formula that works right when all the ingredients are there in the right amounts, so let’s not go ruining a good thing.

6. You try to pass off someone’s work for yours

It happens a lot. Like a lot, lot, lot. Yet I never thought that it could get any lower than mere plagiarism, until a guest blogger submitted an "original" post he ripped off a site, which ripped the content off our site first.

(Image Source: edtechreview)

It’s like you being at the car dealer, shopping for a new car to replace your stolen car, only to be showed your (still stolen) car by the salesperson. I mean, come on! That is so wrong at so many levels.

Wasted Talents

There are those that try to dilute the work by grouping several writer’s work into the same post. Others spin their articles, changing the tenses, every fourth word or the arrangements of the words. Sometimes they do such a good job with it, you can’t really tell unless you have a really good eye, or really good luck (nature blessed me with the latter). Kind of makes you wonder why they don’t just write an original piece from the get go.

All great relationships start off with trust and understanding. No blog owner wants to feel cheated or scammed into accepting a forged guest blog. And while we are on that subject…

7. You pose as someone else

Like any other sane person, I’d like for the person I go on a blind date with to not turn out to be a serial killer. Ditto with guest bloggers. If you are accepting guest blogs and the submission comes in with a really (almost too) photogenic photo, run an image search with the photo. Some of them may be from a stock photo library.

Also be wary of submissions that come in with two first names. Either their parents were really in a rush to pick their names or they themselves were in a rush to pick two english names to go with their fake identities. It happens often but that’s not the worst.

Multiple Personalities

The worst case I’ve ever encountered involved an author with "multiple personalities". I had accepted a submitted post for publication but upon closer inspection, found that the author lifted content straight from the product descriptions.

It’s no big deal, in fact, it happens all the time, so I do what I usually do in these situations and confront the writer, officially rejecting the post.

The author did not take to the rejection well, and demanded that I honor the initial approval and not fall back on "a shameful reason" to pull the post from publication. Right… it is shameful of me to withdraw from publishing his copycat post, but what’s this – he signed the email with another contributor’s name (and of the opposite gender).

The guest author had lost track of who he was impersonating, messing up who was whom and effectively helping me develop my allergy to BS submissions from then on.

Wrap Up

In spite of all this, we continue accepting guest submissions because it is a great source for talented writers who are really here to produce good content. In fact, some of these guest bloggers eventually become regular contributors. Being a little stricter with the filtration of post seems to be a better strategy than totally closing the doors to guest blogging aka killing the golden goose. And so far, it’s still working.


10 Apps To Connect Your Computer To Android Devices

Posted: 27 Feb 2014 02:01 AM PST

In an age of connectivity, we switch from smartphone to tablet to computer multiple times a day for a multitude of reasons: to contact someone, to play games or to make changes on Photoshop. There are times though when you feel like you want more control over a mobile device, all from your computer. There are apps to help you transfer control from Android device to computer, letting you make changes to your phone straight from your PC.

Pushbullet App

These 10 apps let you do things like sending mobile messages from your PC, receive notifications for your phone on your desktop, push files or custom messages to and from PC and Android device. If you know of more of these handy apps, let us know in the comments.

1. AirDroid

One of the easiest methods to wirelessly transfer files between your Android device and your desktop is to use AirDroid. Once you connect your computer with your phone via the free Airdroid app, you can use the web interface to view photos videos, send SMS, take screenshots, move or delete files in your Android device. Read more about AirDroid here.


2. Airstream

Airstream streams all the files on your desktop to any Android device with access to your folders. This way you can access not just your songs and videos, but also anything that you store on your computer. All you need is to run the server executable on your computer, then run the app on your Android device to access your computer. No transfer problems or limits. Just start streaming.


3. Polkast

Polkast doesn’t store your files over the Cloud and will create a "secret tunnel" between your Android device and the computer for easy and secure access to your files. There is also a Super Search feature to allow you to search for anything on your computer straight from your Android device. It even has a Smart Cache feature to only cache files that are downloaded and to delete older files to make room for new ones.


4. Desktop Notifications

Get your notifications from your Android device to pop up on your desktop with this app. By getting your notifications straight on your desktop you don’t have to unlock to check your phone every time a new notification comes in. It has yet to offer the option for a direct reply from your desktop but it does reduce distraction.

Desktop Notification

5. Pushbullet

Pushbullet is a fast-growing app that has evolved from merely pushing files, info or addresses to an Android device to mirroring your Android device notifications to your PC and dismissing phone notifications from your PC. You can even push your files to your friend’s phones. It also stores uploaded files in their server to make it easy to push out.


6. Message Beam

Need to beam a title, a line or an url from your PC to your Android device? Use Message Beam, an browser extension to send it straight to your device. Just copy and paste the line into the field then press Send. It also works in the opposite direction as Message Beam is also available as an app.

Message Beam

7. MightyText

If the small keyboard on your Android device is making it hard for you to write long text messages, MightyText lets you write on your computer and send it out. Install the app and connect it to your Google account then access the web app from the given URL. Conversations on your phone will be automatically synced. Incoming messages will pop up on your browser, and you can also use it as a backup for restoring your SMS/MMS messages in case something happens to your device.

Mighty Text

8. TeamViewer QuickSupport

Are you the designated Android go-to guy in your home? This app will help you better understand the problems plaguing their Android device, and even your own device. The standard TeamViewer software on PC lets you connect to an Android device and gain control of app installation and overall condition of the device. The device is great for troubelshooting Android problems on multiple devices.

TeamViewer QuickSupport

9. Mobizen

Mobizen is another app that lets you control your Android device on your PC. This app allows you to transfer files, backup and restore, screen capture and recording, onscreen drawing, as well as handling notifications on your Android device. You can also send text messages from the PC with this app.


10. Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop

Do you know that you can control your computer from your Android device in real-time? Using Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop you can listen to music, watch videos, play video games all from within the screen of your Android device. This app also supports streaming over the internet for $1.99/month (or $16.99/year) and has a pretty incredible frame rate, perfect for those who want to stream on the go rather be stuck in front of their computer all day.

Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop


Manage Your Project Easily With Your Team Using Solo

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 11:01 PM PST

Managing a project team is often a challenging task. If your team members are working remotely from different locations, it can be difficult to make arrangements for meetings to track everyone’s progress. However, there are some great tools that will your life much easier, such as those found in an awesome app called Solo.

Solo is a free client-server app which provides you with a lot of tools to expedite your project management. Tools like task management, file management, project calender, task timer and even an activity stream have been integrated within the app.

Getting Started

Installing Solo is easy; the installation wizard will guide you through the process. To get started, first download the Solo source code and upload it onto your web server.

In your browser, navigate to the Solo installation folder to begin the process. For example: http://www.mysite.com/solo/install. You should see the installation wizard appear like in the following screenshot.

Just click Next and you’ll be prompted with the Server Compatibility check. Note that Solo needs at least PHP v5.3, cURL php extension enabled and MySQL in your server.

If all the requirements are met, then click Next to perform the Folder Permissions check, which is needed for the installer to write permissions on a few folders. If the permissions are correct, you can continue the installation process.

Then, click Next to bring you to the database setting page. You need to provide your database settings: hostname, username and password.

After the database has been created successfully, click Next to proceed to the Company Info configuration page.

You must fill in the Base Url (used), Company Name and Email Address. If you aren’t sure about something, just click on "more info" to bring up the hint. Click Next to finish the process.

To log in, just use admin for both the username and password.

And now you’re ready to start working with your team using Solo. Once you’ve made sure that everything is working properly, delete the install folder for security reasons.

Solo Features

Solo has a pretty simple and user-friendly interface. All of Solo’s main features are located on the left sidebar. Solo also provides you with a sample project. Let’s see what’s inside.

The Dashboard is the summary of all projects. The Projects section informs you about a project’s status and progress, which you can see either in grid or list view. Right beside it, the Activity Stream can tell you what’s happening with other projects.

The Project page gives you more detailed project information as you can see from the screenshot below. You will also see a few tabs, which are self-explanatory: Details, Calendar, Tasks, Files and Notes.

With Solo, you can also add lists of your clients into the project on the Clients page.

In the Files page you can find the full list of uploaded files from all projects and filetypes like video, mp3, and document is available for preview. Note that you can’t upload files from this page; you can only do that on the Projects page.


If the Solo’s default settings don’t meet your requirements, you can customize them.

Translating to Another language

To translate Solo’s default language, first open the Solo’s language file, which you can find in: ../solo/server/language/en/build/all.php. Then translate the language within the file. Don’t forget to check the permissions on the build folder (solo/server/language/en/build) which should be 777.

Once you’ve finished building your new Solo language, login to Solo and navigate to the Admin tab then click on Build Template File to apply the change.

Config File

The config file is where you can edit the default settings of Solo. If want to change the values, open the config.php file in ../solo/server/config/. To see all available options with descriptions, head over to the config documentation page.


Solo is a creative and unique project management application. It’s also very convenient as your team won’t need to install any other app; all you have to do is log in to Solo online to start working on a project.

Since Solo is available for free, it doesn’t offer advanced features like invoicing, payment, messaging, budget report or a project calendar. However, you can get those features in DuetAPP, a premium version of Solo, for $49.


Get Your Own Personal Cloud With PClouds

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 09:08 PM PST

Cloud storage has undeniably become a hugely important part of our daily lives. Now that we’re connected via multiple devices, having access to our files anywhere and everywhere is fast becoming a necessity instead of a luxury.

But the cloud comes with its own risks: you’re reliant on a third-party server and, especially now, there’s always the risk that the privacy and security of your data are compromised. If these issues often play on your mind, pClouds may just be the cloud storage solution for you.

PClouds Landing Page

PClouds is a personal cloud service that, instead of using a third-party cloud server, it links and uses all of your already existing devices and storage. Why opt for this model over traditional third-party cloud storage solutions? Firstly, the security and privacy of your data is preserved. Secondly, you don’t need to pay for extra cloud storage, since pClouds uses your own storage.

Getting Started With PClouds

PClouds is still in beta, so if you’re interested in trying it out you’re going to have to apply to join the beta program.

Since pClouds doesn’t rely on a third-party server, you’re going to need pClouds installed on all the devices you want access to. You also need to be logged in on these devices, and yes, you need to be connected to the Internet.

Here’s how signing in looks like on OS X:

Logging In To PClouds

Once you’re signed in, all linked devices should appear as folders on your desktop.

Linked Devices

PClouds Features

Since pClouds links entire devices and not just specific folders, one of the big benefits of pClouds is that all the folders on all your devices are accessible through pClouds.

This lets you transfer files and folders directly from one device to another, instead of having to upload a file to a cloud storage service and then download it onto the device you wish to transfer to.

PClouds FIle Transfer

The pClouds app for mobile devices has its own file explorer, too. This makes moving, deleting and copying files easy, even on your iPhone and iPad.

PClouds IOS File Browser

Pasting A File IOS


As with any application in beta, pClouds isn’t without some limitations. Firstly, it’s currently only available on Mac OSX and iOS. There’s also a Linux version, but it’s only usable via the terminal for now. Rest assured, though, that Windows and Android versions are part of the development roadmap.

Another limitation is that pClouds doesn’t have any collaboration features. Like Android and Windows versions, though, these features are in the pipeline and should be integrated into the service sooner rather than later.



Post a Comment