Cloud Computing: Facebook Shops for Talent to Fight Google, Social Web Competitors
Facebook dipped a toe into the world of mergers and acquisitions when it acquired Parakey in July 2007, grabbing Firefox co-creators Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. After a quiet 2008 in which it grabbed several top Google employees, including current COO Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook surprised folks when it picked up FriendFeed in August 2009. FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor went on to become Facebook's CTO. Now with more than 500 million users worldwide, 2010 was a break-out year for Facebook in the M&A department. The social network acquired 10 small Web service providers. Eight of these were confirmed, one was pending and so far Facebook hasn't confirmed whether it has closed the 10th acquisition. But as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, the company is quietly picking up these startups for the talent, not for the Web services they've built. When Facebook buys one of these little guys, the startups tend to shut down within a month or so. On the one hand, Facebook is snuffing out enterprising Web services. But in some cases, Facebook is hiring folks who will build bigger, better versions of those Web services within the context of the world's supreme social network. The eWEEK slide show looks at the companies Facebook picked up in 2010.