The big deals keep coming in the tech space. Last week it was Broadcom's turn, which announced its planned $61 billion acquisition of cloud technology company VMware.
The proposed deal comes just weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered $44 billion for Twitter, and is second in size this year to Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Broadcom, under its CEO Hock Tan, has been pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy that goes back to its 2018 $19 billion acquisition of CA Technologies and was followed by its near-$11 billion buy of tech security company Symantec in 2019.
In a statement, Vladimir Galabov, the head of UK-based tech research company Omdia’s cloud and data center research practice, told us that buys like CA and Symatec are, at least superficially, revenue generating acquisitions. "Companies like CA are mature, with a well-established market and customer base that can be seen as a cash cow for Broadcom," said Galabov.
But there is more to it than that, he added. If Broadcom is not just acquiring a cash cow, but is also building a vertical stack of components from processor to application, then this move could prove transformative as it provides the company with another key capability in that stack.
The question of how effective a full stack strategy is, he said, has long been a topic of debate in the industry. IBM with Red Hat has gone the open route. However, Dell acquired VMware then disposed of it at the end of last year (although Michael Dell and private equity partners Silver Lake Partners retained a majority stake in the company) after deciding the full stack strategy was not working.
A full stack model is appealing for companies looking to enable edge computing, as many do not have the resources to create a custom edge solution that works well. The ability to purchase an appliance and just drop the application on top of it with the confidence that it will work and be compatible with the rest of the enterprise’s environment is attractive.
Galabov added that between its large customer base and presence in all public clouds as well as on-premises, VMware is very well placed. However, VMware technology as a stack is expensive when compared to the newer Kubernetes approach. The big question is, if Broadcom does have full stack ambitions, how is it going to package and price the stack?
In an open statement to the media, VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram explained that from VMWare’s perspective the deal is about offering enterprises multi-cloud infrastructure. Following the closing of the transaction, he said, VMware will become the software platform and brand for Broadcom, incorporating Broadcom’s existing infrastructure and security software solutions as part of the VMware portfolio.
“We will provide enterprise customers an expanded suite of mission-critical solutions to accelerate innovation and address their most complex information technology infrastructure challenges," the statement reads, adding that after the deal closes, the combined solutions will enable greater choice and flexibility for enterprises to modernize, build, deploy, connect and protect applications consistently, in a multi-cloud world.
The transaction is expected to close later this year.
Microsoft, Adobe Deepen Collaboration in Teams
Last week, we looked at some of the digital workplace announcements coming out of the Microsoft Build conference. One announcement we didn't cover was the announcement of deeper integrations between Adobe and Microsoft.
The integrations combine a number of existing products as well as upgrades aimed at simplifying collaboration for workers, no matter where they are located. At the time, Microsoft noted the integrations all dovetail with its vision of what a digital-first workplace should be. Among the new integrations are:
Acrobat and Acrobat Sign for Teams
According to Adobe, the new upgrades for Acrobat and Acrobat Sign were specifically designed for Teams to make it easier to work with PDFs within Teams. It includes new PDF sign, edit and collaborate capabilities without requiring a user leave Teams. It has also added Single Sign-On (SSO) and introduced a personal tab — a one-stop home for access to all recent documents and tools.
Live Share With Frame.io
Frame.io also made an appearance this year following the video collaboration platform's acquisition by Adobe last year for $1.28 billion. The Frame.io video editing tool allows collaboration via cloud-first workflows. For its part, Live Share makes it possible for colleagues to collaborate without the need to sync code or configure the same development tools, settings or environment. This integration will show how the combination of Frame.io and Microsoft Teams in preview can be used to enable synchronized, interactive reviews of work in progress. A potential future use is to support collaboration between people in a Teams meeting while simultaneously reviewing content from Frame.io.
Acrobat Sign and Power Automate Embed
Power Automate and Acrobat Sign will be pulled together to speed the e-signature process within organizations. Power Automate helps users create automated workflows between apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications and collect data — among other things. The integration will help organizations automate the workflow and audit of e-signatures across hundreds of business processes.
Adobe Experience Manager Forms Connector for Power Automate
Forms is an end-to-end digital document solution for people to create responsive forms that customers can complete and securely e-sign. Users will now be able integrate this with Power Automate to enable review, approve and trigger notifications.
Acrobat & Acrobat Sign for Microsoft 365 Unified Install
IT admins can deploy and manage Acrobat and Acrobat Sign add-ins across Microsoft Teams, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint.
A number of other integrations also aim to simplify work processes. While Teams has a robust ecosystem of vendors providing integrations, this tighter integration between Adobe and Microsoft is a significant development on the basis of functionality and also because of the size of the environments concerned.
Google Will Unify Video Calling Apps Into One Solution
Sticking with integrations, Google has announced plans to pull together its video calling apps — notably Duo and Meet — into a single video platform.
Duo is a video chat mobile app developed by Google and available on the Android and iOS operating systems. Google first announced Duo at its developer conference in 2016 and released it in August of that year.
The Google Meet video-communication service is one of two apps that constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Chat.
9TO5Google reported last August that this move was in the works. However, earlier this week Google shared its timing in a Tweet:
In the coming weeks, we are adding #GoogleMeet features to the Duo app, and later this year, we’ll update the Duo app to #GoogleMeet, creating one video experience that's better together ➡️ https://t.co/EZSM6ppHUT pic.twitter.com/n3WGkJuUIv— Google Workspace (@GoogleWorkspace) June 1, 2022
The merged service will be known as Google Meet, and will include some of the features of Duo, which was primarily designed for personal video calling.
In a blog post, the Google Workspace team explained: "In the coming weeks, we are adding all the Google Meet features to the Duo app, so users can easily schedule a video meeting at a time that works for everyone, or continue using video calling to connect instantly with a person or group. Later this year, we will rename the Duo app to Google Meet, our single video communications service across Google that is available to everyone at no-cost."
The combination of the two should bring together the best of both worlds in one enhanced app. The improvements include:
- In-meeting chat.
- Increase attendance size, from 32 to 100 participants.
- Live share content to support interaction with all participants on the call.
- Integration with other tools, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Assistant, Messages among others.
Google also explained Duo users will not need to download a new app, but they should ensure their device has the latest version installed. Meet will continue to work on the web or mobile for Google Workspace users, provided the Meet service is on in the admin console.
Google noted in the announcement that video communications is currently a major area of focus for the company. It gave no indication of what else is in the works, but with video's importance continuing, more news is sure to come.
Google's India Ambitions
Finally this week, Google has been looking for new ideas and markets. According to reports from the Reuters news agency, India-based ShareChat announced it has raised $300 million in funding in a round led by Alphabet, Google’s parent company, along with the media giant Times Group and Singapore's Temasek Holdings.
The company is now valued at just under $5 billion. The deal was not yet official at the time of writing, but Reuters cites two sources close to the deal.
ShareChat is an Indian social media and social networking service, developed by Bangalore-based Mohalla Tech. Ankush Sachdeva, Bhanu Pratap Singh and Farid Ahsan founded the company and incorporated on Jan. 8, 2015. According to reports in the India financial news outlet inc42, ShareChat has over 250 million monthly active users across 15 Indian languages.
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