M & A

13 most remarkable tech acquisitions in world history


With news of Whatsapp’s acquisition making big headlines, we relook at some of the most remarkable acquisitions in modern times. Some are worth talking about because they were just outright ridiculous or had a huge amount of money involved. Others were very shrewd business maneuvers, while some acquisitions recreated history.

131) Microsoft bought 86DOS

Date – 27th July, 1981
Money involved – $ 75,000

The smartest business move in the world history. Microsoft bought 86DOS from Seattle computer systems to fulfill the contract with IBM. Another interesting point to note was that instead of selling it outright to IBM they were one of the earliest to implement software licenses. It was a business move which changed the world unlike anything else.

92) Apple acquired NeXT

Date – 7th Feb, 1997
Money involved – $ 404 Million

When your company is suffering and you need to bring back the founder of the company who was ousted, what do you do? You buy the company! It was a very strategic move from other angles as well. NeXT software laid the foundation for Apple’s OSX.

113) Microsoft bought Hotmail

Date – 31st Dec, 1997
Money involved – $ 400 Million

Apart from bringing Sabeer Bhatia on the global map, this deal was iconic for the fact that it helped Microsoft compete with Yahoo! on the email front. It is a different story that Microsoft has been able to re-launch the service multiple times and has made it available in over 106 languages around the world in its latest avatar outlook.com

Free Download: ‘A beginner’s guide to app store optimization’

74) Microsoft bought Skype

Date – 10th May, 2011
Money involved – $8.5 Billion

Another brilliant buy for Microsoft which replaced its MSN Live Messenger service in favor of Skype everywhere apart from China. Skype also brought a good amount of market share to Microsoft when it comes to VoIP and video calling, prompting Google to foray into the sector with the introduction of Hangouts.

15) Google bought Android

Date – 17 Aug, 2005
Money involved – $50 Million

It has been officially said by Google’s M&A Chief David Lawee as the best deal ever. This deal helped Google grab the majority of the smartphone market share. Thus not only giving them a head start in the mobile space but a great one. In retrospect, it is difficult to say how Google managed to see through the future of mobility in 2005.

86) Disney acquired Pixar

Date – 23 Jan, 2006
Money involved – $ 7.4 Billion

Disney was in a huge loss and on the verge of collapse at the time they acquired Pixar. ‘Toy Story’ was like a breath of fresh air for Disney and since then they were able to turn it around using other major productions from Pixar Studios.


37) Google bought YouTube

Date– 9 Oct, 2006
Money involved – $1.65 Billion

Another example of brilliant foresight from Google. YouTube has become one of the biggest revenue generators for Google with over billions of dollars in ad revenue. They bought it despite the fact that they had their own video hosting platform at that time.

68) Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems

Date – 27 Jan, 2010
Money involved – $7. 4 Billion

Larry Ellison bought its competitor in this brilliant business maneuver. By buying Sun, Larry made sure that it had Java and MySQL under its hood. This acquisition made sure that Oracle gains a market share of corporate and service companies who are still dependent on Java for the client development.

109) Facebook bought Instagram

Date – 12 April, 2012
Money involved – $1 Billion

Mark Zuckerberg always worried about not focusing on mobile, and Instagram was the perfect opportunity for them to capture the mobile market in an effective manner. And paying one billion doesn’t sound like much when your own mobile app is crappy and you are looking to fix things.

210) Google bought Doubleclick

Date – 11 March 2008
Money involved – $3.1 Billion

With the biggest part of its revenue coming from ads, it was no wonder the Google would do anything to acquire its major competitor. Either you cut the hand which steals your food or make sure it feeds you, isn’t it?


1211) Google acquired Applied Semantics

Date – April 2003
Money involved – $102 Million

Applied Semantics is not a well known company, but you would be surprised to read that they developed the algorithm behind the initial version of Adsense and thus opening up a revenue stream in the early days of Google.


412) Facebook acquired Whatsapp

Date – 19 Feb 2014
Money involved -$19 Billion

Another great move to capture the mobile market, but what will be the results of this acquisition, only time will tell. It is too early to say anything as of now.


513) AOL acquired Time Warner

Date – 10 Jan 2000
Money involved – $164 Billion

We started with the best deal in the history but this one was certainly the worst deal. Looking into the amount of money involved and internal clashes between the top management of the two corporations, adding the dot-com bust into the picture and you have a recipe for disaster.

About the author

A Software Engineer by education, Aditya has been a Workshop Consultant with The Times of India and later on was a Cloud developer with CSC India Pvt. Ltd. Apart from coding, he has a keen interest in analyzing stock market movements and often forgets the outer world once he starts reading. You can follow him on Google+ and Twitter at @adi_bhushan. You can reach out to him at aditya@yourstory.com".

Write your story
Share your stories with us and inspire others like you!

Never Miss a Story — Follow Us

Most Popular

Sign Up for the daily YS Newsletter for all the latest updates

M & A