Silicon Valley has a bad habit – that of buying outright any company that might prove useful to them and the tech community. When Google bought Waze, Facebook bought Spool and Pinterest bought Icebergs, they all did it to bring to their platforms, users and companies, ideas, technologies and features that they believed would be a good fit with their own setup.
But they did it wrong. Waze is a great app and when it finally disappears (as do all Google acquisitions), it will be a great loss for it’s users. Waze has a unique UI, a dedicated user following and features that are not at all present in Google Maps. While the integration went well, Google Maps is an overloaded app with too many features. Eventually, they’ll simplify and drop a few features, getting rid of many core things that Waze is known for. In no circumstance will Waze ever recover from this setback.
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The big news for today is VMware’s acquisition of Nicira for $1.26 Billion. For those who don’t know, Nicira is a pioneer in Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Openflow. SDN is a technology that allows the virtualization of the network, thus abstracting the network and allowing a company to create multiple virtual networks based on their needs.
This is big news because of two reasons –
1. This opens doors for VMware into the networking world. Traditionally dominated by Cisco, Juniper, Brocade and a few others, the networking industry is now ripe for major disruption. There is a lot of buzz with the Cloud and SDN and now these buzz words are becoming a reality. By buying Nicira, VMware, traditionally a server virtualization company has stepped into the networking world, allowing them to take their expertise of virtualization and apply it to data centers. This way, VMware controls major portions of the data center world, from servers to the networking itself. The acquisition seems befitting too, considering that Nicira is often called the VMware of the networking world.
2. Nicira is not just an Openflow/SDN company concentrating on networking. It is a backbone to another project called OpenStack. OpenStack is a complete data center solution that has components that help a datacenter control the servers that store information, that do large computations and those that provide networking. By acquiring Nicira, VMware has enabled itself to be an end-to-end solution for datacenters and thus expanding their presence in that market.
This news comes at a time when the entire tech industry is in a flux, with many companies taking on new roles that are not traditionally theirs. If anything, this proves that the future of the networking industry is big and led by companies you wouldn’t expect to take the lead.
Further Reading –
TechCrunch’s news about VMware/Nicira acquisition
Marc Andreessen talks about Nicira on Forbes