PREDICTION: Rise of the 'aquihire'

The problem with the internet taking over the world is that there aren't enough decent developers to go around. Enter the so-called 'acquihire'. Where once bigger players bought startups for their software, innovative ideas or to kill competition, now they're buying them purely for the skills their employees possess. Google and Facebook are particular fans of the talent acquisition: purchasing a company only to close the service it offers and set its new recruits to work on other projects. This approach will only intensify in 2011 as peers including the likes of Twitter and Zynga follow suit. Last year Google acquired 42 companies for around USD1.6bn. In contrast Microsoft bought zero. Google's appetite for acquisitions shows no sign of diminishing, nor does Facebook's, but will Microsoft's be rekindled? In the age of the acquihire, it may have to, especially if it begins to experience the kind of exodus that appears to be perpetually occurring at Yahoo! So, would-be entrepreneurs take note: don't worry about having a 'big' idea, simply employ top-notch engineers and wait for the offers to roll in.

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