How Many Companies Can A Search Engine Buy?

It seems like every Friday when I’m putting together my This Week In SEO post a sizable chunk of the search engine news deals with acquisitions by the major engines. Via SEO Scoop I happened across this timeline of mergers and acquisitions for Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, since 2001 and thought it interesting enough to share.

Click on any of the companies listed for the acquisition date and price and in some cases a few more details about the company in question.

Here’s my quick count on the numbers, though please feel free to double check me. Counting isn’t necessarily my strong suit.

  • Google (blue dots) – 34
  • Yahoo! (red dots) – 28
  • Microsoft (green dots) – 27

One of the most obvious things you’ll notice is how the number of acquisitions is greatly increasing over the years from 7 in 2001 to 27 in 2006. Nothing has been recorded as yet for 2007. The 2006 numbers would be higher had Yahoo not taken the first half of the year off. Maybe they were window shopping until year end holiday sales.

It’s also interesting to see what kind of companies each engine is buying. For instance 4 of the 5 companies Yahoo purchased last year are social media related. Seeing trends in the acquisitions might give you some insight into the thought process at the engines and where they might be headed strategically.

Have fun playing with the timeline and seeing how much money the engines are spending. Do you notice any patterns in the mergers and acquisitions that are revealing?

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