Who's buying whom in 2009?

Which big tech companies are going to get bought in 2009? Matt Asay offers his take on a list put together by ZDNet's Jason Hiner.

ZDNet's Jason Hiner suggests "Seven big tech acquisitions to watch for in 2009," and each of them looks highly plausible (Oracle to buy Salesforce.com? You bet), though I think a few are mismatched.

First off, Hiner points to a tie-up between EMC and Dell. That feels about right, except that I have heard that ink is still being spilled over a Cisco acquisition of EMC.

Of course, with how active Cisco has been lately on the acquisition front, it's now far too easy to assume Cisco will buy just about everyone. Even so, I think Cisco is a more likely suitor for Red Hat's hand than IBM, which is Hiner's guess. As part of Cisco's grand design to do...just about everything, it's going to want more expertise in the underlying operating system powering it all: Linux.

Such a move would arguably make a big impact on the enterprise computing space, whereas Hiner's assumption that "Microsoft needs to make a bold move in the mobile space" (true) and hence will buy Palm, almost made me break into uncontrollable laughter. Palm? A bold move? Sure, a decade ago.

Hiner calls out some cogent arguments for Microsoft acquiring Palm's technology, but neither Palm nor Microsoft really has a mobile technology problem: they have marketing problems, and a marriage of equal (duds) isn't going to change that.

The merger on Hiner's list I'd like to see most? Apple buying Adobe. Both companies make beautiful products. It would be awesome to see what they could build together.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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