Big Purchases, Big Dreams

Yesterday we heard about several purchases within the industry: Microsofts acquisition of LinkedIn, Symantecs purchase of Blue Coat, and VMwares acquisition of Arkin. These are not small purchases. Once integrated, they start the journey to bigger goals and dreams. As some put it on Twitter, “It is a big day in IT.” I would agree. What is the reason for each of these purchases, and why have they been made? The oddest one, which has people scratching their head, is Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn.

Let us start with the smallest purchase first:

VMware is acquiring Arkin. This purchase will help VMware push NSX into the data center by using a tool to optimize software-defined networks and bridge the gaps within NSX. Currently, gaps exist not just in technology, but in the understanding and visibility of how traditional networking, other SDN technologies, and NSX work within a given enterprise. In order to use NSX for more than microsegmentation, a lot more about any given network must be understood. Arkin exposes the required knowledge in an easy-to-understand way. Visibility into each layer of your network is crucial to SDN adoption.

Next, we have a slightly larger purchase:

Symantec acquires Blue Coat: This $4.65B purchase is an interesting and good exit for Blue Coat. Symantec itself has hundreds of products,yet there are missing products in the all-important cloud access security broker (CASB) space. Blue Coat, on the other hand, has bought two of the existing enterprise CASBs in the last few years. Now Symantec owns these. The purchase makes sense for Symantec, as it brings Symantec to the future of security. Yet, the future of Symantec depends entirely on how well it integrates its products into this future: hybrid cloud and containers. Symantec’s success also depends on either dropping older technologies outright, de-emphasizing the sale of relatively useless products, or refocusing these on better use cases—targeted use cases. The days of selling AntiVirus as a preventative have been long gone. It is time to look at behavior, how clouds are used, and the security surrounding the application and, more importantly, the data.

One of the larger purchases is $26.2B:

Microsoft has bought LinkedIn. This purchase seems odd at first, until you realize two specific things about LinkedIn and Microsoft. Microsoft caters to the professional; so does LinkedIn. Microsoft lost the search wars and no longer has a lucrative advertisement platform. LinkedIn brings to Microsoft a very large advertisement platform used by professionals and businesses alike. It also provides a handy platform to advertise Microsoft’s own portfolio of products for use by professionals. Yes, that is the key to this purchase: how Microsoft can reach the professionals and not the home users who want a service for free. When you consider that Microsoft can combine Skype, LinkedIn, and analytics, the advertising platform grows, as do the usable services by professionals.

I see a very interesting combination of Skype, SlideShare, and LinkedIn’s communication platform. Besides advertisement and the analytics behind that, this purchase shows the future of communication from Microsoft. Perhaps a full MSN replacement.

Closing Thoughts

It was a big day for purchases. Not the largest purchases, but ones that reveal a shift in so many markets. VMware realizes NSX deficiencies and finds a solution to fill the need. Symantec moves forward into the hybrid cloud security arena. And Microsoft pivots to market toward the professional.

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