Big tech vendors have been stepping outside their original area of expertise with an array of recent acquisitions. Among the themes involved are the consumerization of IT and the movement toward cloud computing. Intel’s McAfee buy is just the latest in a larger trend.
Intel’s bold decision to branch out into the world of security software with its surprise $7.7 billion acquisition of McAfee this week is just the latest example of a technology superpower going outside its area of expertise to respond to consumer-cum-enterprise technologies in order to survive, if not thrive, in today’s information technology landscape.
One needn’t look any farther than Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), a company that revolutionized the search and online ad market with its massive computing infrastructure and laser-sharp algorithms and then decided to extend its tentacles — to say nothing of its massive cash reserves — to mobile devices and operating systems, cloud computing, SaaS, business analytics and everything in between.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), IBM (NYSE: IBM), HP (NYSE: HPQ) and now Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) have all invested billions upon billions of dollars in the past few years to acquire companies and technologies outside their original purvey, snapping up unified communications firms, network security vendors, business intelligence software specialists and — most important for the future they all envision — anything and everything that relates to mobile devices, interconnectivity or mobile and network security.
Thanks to the time-consuming and expensive build-out of wireless networks, the advent of smartphones like the iPhone, the BlackBerry and the ever-expanding line of Android-based handsets and consumers’ unquenchable thirst for mobile devices, every technology company of significance is in a mad dash to be integral to the experience, even if it means learning how to do something it’s never done before.
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