The Wall Street Journal had a decent story today on cash-rich Oracle going on the acquisition trail. Actually, except for PeopleSoft and Siebel, it seems to me the acquisitions have been pretty small. Anyways, with Oracle, Cisco and Microsoft (I shouldn't forget IBM either) as cash rich tech uncles in a cruddy economy, it is a good Tuesday morning exercise to guess where these companies will head next. With IPOs all but dormant, and banking and investment companies running around with a begger's bowl, the big high tech vendors with cash on hand are the only out for lots of smaller tech companies.
1. Cashing in on the stimulus package. The nearly $800 billion stimulus package being signed today by President Obama represents the hottest technology spending area right now. But when I look at some of the investment areas including digital medical records, energy management, transportation and infrastructure, the big four (Oracle, Cisco,Microsoft, IBM -- MICO), okay big five if you include Hewlett-Packard, are not strong across all those areas and do now have enough time to build that expertise in-house. Time to unlimber that wallet to scoop up the smaller companies better positioned for stimulus spending.
2. The new compliance. What will happen to the tottering banks, shaky investment organizations and drowning brokerages? Well you can bet that in the name of transparency they will be subjected to more prodding, poking and disclosure rules than anyone thought possible. Oracle and IBM are somewhat strong here, although not across the board. Cisco and Microsoft have a long way to go here. Time to dust the cobwebs off that wallet.
3. Clouds and nets. Okay, all the cloud companies and social net companies are scrambling to find a business model. Intention clouds and nets rather than participation activities where the people you attract to your site are intent on doing some business rather than going along for the ride seems to be the new mantra. The big vendors seem to run the gamut here from Oracle which doesn't much take to cloud computing to Cisco which wants to go from being the wires and pliers of the cloud to the content source. The big vendors are going to have to buy their way into this dance.
Any other areas I missed?