Saturday, September 24, 2005

Acquisition for exit, acquisition for profit

Peter Caputa has a new post up about potential consolidation in the calendars/time/events space. As usual, Peter's on to something, but as usual, he seems to want this all to happen at the speed of thought.

Let's have a reality check. Siebel Systems and Oracle just merged. This merger was pretty much foreordained when Tom Siebel left Oracle after a dispute with Larry Ellison about the relative value of databases and the applications built on top of databases. When was that? 1993. In the intervening 12 years, Siebel has built billions of dollars of value-added apps on top of databases, and to a large extent built its company with Oracle talent. This merger is a reunion that has always made sense, and yet it took a decade, because that's the kind of timeframe over which real business power and profit are sorted out.

There are other examples that are more complex, like Macromedia. Quoting from this site:

Macromedia was formed in April 1992 by the merger of Authorware and MacroMind-Paracomp. Authorware began operations in 1987. Founded in 1984, MacroMind merged with Paracomp in 1991. Macromedia extended its vision further in January 1995, when it acquired Altsys, maker of FreeHand, the leading design tool for print and Internet graphics. In September 1995, Macromedia acquired Fauve Software, developer of xRes, the fast creative tool for imaging and the Internet. Macromedia acquired OSC Software, developer of Deck II, in November 1995 Macromedia acquired iband, developer of Backstage, in March of 1996. Most recently, in January 1997, Macromedia acquired FutureWave, developer of FutureSplash Animator which was relaunched as Macromedia Flash, the easiest way to create small, fast Shockwave multimedia.

Let's see. That's seven years of operations before the first merger, and then five more mergers over six more years, ultimately leading to Macromedia owning Flash, which is pretty much why we all think of the firm. Now, of course, a further eight years later, Macromedia and Adobe have (finally?) merged, which, one could argue, made sense way back in 1984.

Patience, Peter. It'll all sort itself out. And as Kevin Hughes said to me the other day at CommerceNet as we discussed his great paper and events, "This market is wide open, and no one has figured it out yet."

Zvents is coming Real Soon Now!

1 comment:

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