Google has bought a record 48 companies last year, and plans to buy as many if not more this year, the WSJ says.This is obviously smart: Google is a great acquirer, and most of its best products have come through acquisitions: DoubleClick, Android, YouTube and even AdSense, each of which are billion dollar businesses now. In fact the only big Google products we can think of that have been developed internally have been Gmail and, well, search.
That being said, Google has also had a few big own goals in the acquisition game. Blogger has languished under Google and its founder Ev Williams has gone on to start Twitter, whose CEO Dick Costolo is another founder whose startup (FeedBurner) was acquired and then disregarded by the search giant. And of course who can forget Dodgeball, whose newer incarnation Foursquare is flummoxing Google in the potentially huge social/location market. Each time Google gave entrepreneurs the money and prestige to start ambitious companies that are now challenging it.