Google's Best And Worst Big Acquisitions

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Though Google's pattern has been to re-deploy acquired talent inside Google, there have been exceptions. Geis cites the case of Waze, a crowd-sourced traffic site bought by Google for a little under $1 billion in 2013. Geis says Apple, too, he says, wanted Waze. But Google got it, he says, because Google allowed the company's Israeli talent to remain in Israel, rather than forcing them to relocate to Silicon Valley.

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Examples of unsuccessful acquisitions, says Geis, include those where Google, after purchase, has either sold a company back to its owners or otherwise disposed of it. Examples include travel information provider Frommers, which Google sold back to Arthur Frommer in 2012; and DMarc Broadcasting, where Google and DMarc's founders did not see eye to eye on the degree to which sales of radio advertising should be automated. Google finally pulled the plug on DMarc in 2009, after having spent $100 million to acquire it.

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