To say there was a lot M&A action this week would be a huge understatement. More than $30 billion changed hands — and most of it involved the cloud directly or indirectly.
As you've likely heard (unless you've imposed a news blackout), the biggest deal by far this week was Microsoft buying LinkedIn on Monday for $26 billion, and while you can't call LinkedIn a cloud company, per se, you can argue that the deal was about driving Microsoft's cloud business and finding connections between the data in the LinkedIn database and various Microsoft services.
For instance, it could mix well with Dynamics CRM, which has a cloud version, giving sales and marketing access to a treasure trove of information in the LinkedIn database. For Office 365 and Azure, it could involve identity management — if your name is in the trusted LinkedIn database, chances are better you can trust the person (especially when combined with Microsoft's broader security graph concept). Satya Nadella even hinted at an expert system where people with expertise in your network could help you as you work, which as a New York Times writer pointed out, might not be as helpful as it sounds.
Just don't call LinkedIn a cloud company as some mistakenly have. The cloud has three flavors — infrastructure, platform, and software as a service — and LinkedIn isn't any of those. Let's be clear. Just because it's online and accessible on multiple platforms doesn't automatically make it a cloud service.
But wait there's more
Just yesterday we had Samsung buying cloud infrastructure provider Joyent for an undisclosed amount, but chances are it was a number with B after it. It would be easy to think that Samsung was going after the infrastructure market with this deal, but one analyst suggested it was more about controlling its own cloud infrastructure destiny going forward. Samsung didn't want to beholden to Amazon, Google, or Microsoft, and that meant if they want to have a cloud effort, they would need to have their own playground. Joyent gives Samsung that sense of control and some nice technology in the process.
All in all, it's been an amazing week in what has been an incredibly active month for M&A activity. Whether these deals succeed for the buyers remains to be seen, but certainly the week proved that when the floodgates open, cloud acquisitions are suddenly looking like attractive targets.
Chances are we're only going to see more activity moving forward. In fact, Marc Andreessen says to expect lots more M&A action in the coming months. All of the deals might not all be as eye-popping as LinkedIn, but you never know.