For Google and Yahoo, it’s probably smart if they identify that the technology and talent of the companies they are acquiring are worth it. They get to buy them before they have a lot of investors who need a return on investment, and they get to buy them before they’ve established a big market and deserve a higher payout.
Is this good for the companies? Yes and no. It’s good because they are assured of making some good money, and they have a good chance their technology will get rolled out to a large user base by Google or Yahoo.
However, are they missing out on making a bigger payday? Are they missing out on their product catching fire and making their own company even bigger, more successful, and more powerful? And, if they are entrepreneurs, do they really want to work for a large company?
And perhaps the most important question, is this better or worse for the web as a whole? Is it good that these technologies are getting to use the resources, expertise, and user base of a Google? Or would we be seeing greater innovations if they stayed independent?
Food for thought, it’s tempting to say that independence is better for the web as a whole, but I’m not sure if I was a startup founder if I could turn down a nice acquisition from a large player 6 months into my companies existence either.