Most notable products from tech companies were originally acquisitions. Free cash flow means fast-growing startups can acquire to expand or acquire to turn a flywheel. For companies like Google, any company that provided more data or more searches was a prime target for acquisition. Here's a list of some some everyday products that we know and associate with large tech companies that started somewhere else.
|Applied Semantics (Google AdSense)||$102M||2003|
|NeXT (Steve Jobs)||Apple||$400M||1996|
|Where2 (Google Maps)||<$50M||2004|
Some honorable mentions:
"Too early to tell" where they rank, but some more recent acquisitions.
- Twitch/Amazon – $970M, 2014
- GitHub/Microsoft – $7.5B, 2018
- Mojang (Minecraft)/Microsoft – $2.5B, 2014
- ARM/Softbank – $31B, 2016
- Deepmind/Google – $500M, 2014
Not true acquisitions, but investments that owned a substantial part of a growing business.
- Naspers (a South African publishing company) acquired 46.5% of Tencent in 2001 for only $34M.
- Tencent acquired 40% of Epic Games in 2012 for $330M
- Softbank acquired 34% of Alibaba in 2000 for $20M.