Google racked up 40 acquisitions for $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2010, a frenetic pace of more than four per month that recalled the buying binges of Cisco Systems in its M&A heyday.
The search engine, which revealed the numbers in a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Oct. 29, shelled out $983 million of its M&A spend on three companies for talent and technology.
Google said it bought 37 other acquisitions for approximately $626 million in cash through Sept. 30.
The bulk of the deals, which eWEEK profiled here, included mostly smaller talent acquisitions related to social software, where Google is facing a very real threat to its Internet dominance from Facebook. The social network has 500 million-plus users.
Google bought social search provider Aardvark, widget maker LabPixies, virtual currency specialist Jambool, social aggregator Angstro and gaming provider SocialDeck. Google also reportedly invested $100 million in social gaming power Zynga.
There were dozens more, covering all manners of Internet technologies from security (reCaptcha) to mobile e-mail (reMail) to virtual map technology (Quiksee).
The M&A spend could have soared past $2 billion if Google had closed its deal to purchase travel software maker ITA Software, a $700 million deal that is being closely scrutinized by the Justice Department. Google expects to close the transaction in 2011.
The company, which had $33 billion in cash through the third quarter, vowed to continue its shopping spree into 2011 as it seeks to fend off Facebook in social networking, Apple in mobile and Microsoft Bing in search.
“Acquisitions will also remain an important component of our strategy and use of capital, and we expect our current pace of acquisitions to continue,” the company said.
Keeping the talent will be crucial, too. Unfortunately for Google, the company lost AdMob founder Omar Hamoui and others from that company.