Tech Cycle Points To Consolidation, Or Innovation?

According to the financial wizards at Bloomberg, there are billions of dollars ready to book on winners to enhance the likes of Apple, Google and Cisco, and that barely scratches the surface of tech companies that will be looking to build their future by guessing which of the many new “memes” will show investors they are the “smartest guys in the room.”

Google Inc., based in Mountain View, is currently one of California’s most acquisitive companies, buying at least five businesses in 2010. It agreed to buy Picnik Inc. last month, acquiring online photo-editing tools. Its purchase of DocVerse provided it with software that lets people share documents over the Internet. The value of the deals wasn’t disclosed.

“California deal-making plummeted after 2007, when more than 2,670 transactions totaled almost $254 billion. So far this year, there have been about 530, worth $16.7 billion. That’s a higher number than in the first three months of 2009, although the value was greater in that year-ago period, at about $30 billion.

“Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also cited San Francisco’s Salesforce.com Inc. and Palo Alto-based VMware Inc. as possibilities — though those companies aren’t the most likely targets, the firm says. Salesforce.com makes online customer- relationship software, while VMware sells so-called virtualization programs, which help computers run more than one operating system. Representatives from all the targets declined to comment or didn’t respond to messages.”

Against my better judgment, I listened to the Enron scandal by the business station and was reminded of that insipid little description of what can go wrong when several dozen handsful of corrupt people are given too much power. Skilling, his drunken halucinations at my favorite NY bar, PJ Clarks, aside, is one sad excuse for the leader of that asylum. Yet the idea that those lightweights, lousy and inept as they were, understood, however superficially, that bandwidth was the commodity of the future, states what should be obvious to everyone by now: This is just the beginning of the communication’s age. That idea is never more timely and compelling than it is today.

Amazingly, on today’s economic front, some market makers were surprised when tech led us out of the present recession, even while it was happening in front of their eyes. Many seem to now say tech might slow down, as if the world were standing still. Leadership and discipline from the likes of Apple, Cisco and Intel confidently explained how the world was working, but many folks didn’t get it. Perhaps they thought the commerce lift would come from the entertainment industry, or maybe pharmaceuticals? Some think the putative “dot-bomb” wiped out the Internet entirely; others are sure it’s still a fad. And let’s face it, you can’t say technology without meaning the Internet with all its many tentacles into everything we do today. You can’t say Internet without looking at the jobs available and the resumes needed to fill them.

On the weekend NPR radio show, a woman spoke about how we are becoming a more “verbal” society and therefore females would be better qualified. Like it or not, reading and writing are back, and it would be really helpful if young folks were told to prepare for the present demand. Service sectors are the fastest growing industry by-product of our tech boom and communications skills, that lead to jobs for the masses, may be more important than programming skills. Though I’m hoping we realize both are essential for young people trying to break into the thousands of high paid jobs available to those who are prepared. As I gaze out our conference room window, overlooking Steve Jobs other world, Disney/Pixar, I can only imagine what sort of job descriptions they offer in their world.

Tek-Tips
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