It’s a brand new year and new companies have posted available openings on the PPC Hero Job Board, INCLUDING positions available at Hanapin (the company that produces PPC Hero)! See the open positions Here’s a brief look at just a few of the newly posted positions: Schwaab, Inc Milwaukee, WI Role: PPC Specialist We are […]
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Practical steps (some big, some small) that will get you closer to a complete and effective YouTube advertising strategy for 2019.
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M&A activity was brisk in the enterprise market this year, with 10 high-profile deals totaling almost $ 88 billion. Companies were opening up their wallets and pouring money into mega acquisitions. It’s worth noting that the $ 88 billion figure doesn’t include Dell paying investors more than $ 23 billion for VMware tracking stock to take the company public again or several other deals of over a billion dollars that didn’t make our list.
Last year’s big deals included Intel buying MobileEye for $ 15 billion and Cisco getting AppDynamics for $ 3.7 billion, but there were not as many big ones. Adobe, which made two large acquisitions this year, was mostly quiet last year, only making a minor purchase. Salesforce too was mostly quiet in 2017, only buying a digital creative agency, after an active 2016. SAP also made only one purchase in 2017, paying $ 350 million for Gigya. Microsoft was active buying nine companies, but these were primarily minor. Perhaps everyone was saving their pennies for 2018.
This year, by contrast, was go big or go home, and we saw action across the board from the usual suspects. Large companies looking to change their fortunes or grow their markets went shopping and came home with some expensive trinkets for their collections. Some of the deals are still waiting to pass regulatory hurdles and won’t be closing until 2019. Regardless, it’s too soon to judge whether these big-bucks ventures will pay the dividends that their buyers hope, or if they end up being M&A dust in the wind.
IBM acquires Red Hat for $ 34 billion
By far the biggest and splashiest deal of the year goes to IBM, which bet the farm to acquire Red Hat for a staggering $ 34 billion. IBM sees this acquisition as a way to build out its hybrid cloud business. It’s a huge bet and one that could determine the success of Big Blue as an organization in the coming years.
Broadcom nets CA Technologies for $ 18.5 billion
This deal was unexpected, as Broadcom, a chip maker, spent the second largest amount of money in a year of big spending. What Broadcom got for its many billions was an old-school IT management and software solutions provider. Perhaps Broadcom felt it needed to branch out beyond pure chip making, and CA offered a way to do it, albeit a rather expensive one.
SAP buys Qualtrics for $ 8 billion
While not anywhere close to the money IBM or Broadcom spent, SAP went out and nabbed Qualtrics last month just before the company was about to IPO, still paying a healthy $ 8 billion. The company believes that the new company could help build a bridge between SAP operational data inside its back-end ERP systems and Qualtrics customer data on the front end. Time will tell if they are right.
Microsoft gets GitHub for $ 7.5 billion
In June, Microsoft swooped in and bought GitHub, giving it a key developer code repository. It was a lot of money to pay, and Diane Greene expressed regret that Google hadn’t been able to get it. That’s because cloud companies are working hard to win developer hearts and minds. Microsoft has a chance to push GitHub users toward its products, but it has to tread carefully because they will balk if Microsoft goes too far.
Salesforce snares MuleSoft for $ 6.5 billion
Salesforce wasn’t about to be left out of the party in 2018 and in March, the CRM giant announced it was buying API integration vendor Mulesoft for a cool $ 6.5 billion. It was a big deal for Salesforce, which tends to be acquisitive, but typically on smaller deals. This one was a key purchase though because it gives the company the ability to access data wherever it lives, on premises or in the cloud, and that could be key for them moving forward.
Adobe snags Marketo for $ 4.75 billion
Adobe has built a strong company primarily on the strength of its Creative Cloud, but it has been trying to generate more revenue on the marketing side of the business. To that end, it acquired Marketo for $ 4.75 billion and immediately boosted its marketing business, especially when combined with the $ 1.68 billion Magento purchase earlier in the year.
SAP acquires CallidusCloud for $ 2.4 billion
SAP doesn’t do as many acquisitions as some of its fellow large tech companies mentioned here, but this year it did two. Not only did it buy Qualtrics for $ 8 billion, it also grabbed CallidusCloud for $ 2.4 billion. SAP is best known for managing back-office components with its ERP software, but this adds a cloud-based, front-office sales process piece to the mix.
Cisco grabs Duo Security for $ 2.35 billion
Cisco has been hard at work buying up a variety of software services over the years, and this year it added to its security portfolio when it acquired Duo Security for $ 2.35 billion. The Michigan-based company helps companies secure applications using their own mobile devices and could be a key part of the Cisco security strategy moving forward.
Twilio buys SendGrid for $ 2 billion
Twilio got into the act this year too. While not in the same league as the other large tech companies on this list, it saw a piece it felt would enhance its product set and it was willing to spend big to get it. Twilio, which made its name as a communications API company, saw a kindred spirit in SendGrid, spending $ 2 billion to get the API-based email service.
Vista snares Apttio for $ 1.94 billion
Vista Equity Partners is the only private equity firm on the list, but it’s one with an appetite for enterprise technology. With Apttio, it gets a company that can help companies understand their cloud assets alongside their on-prem ones. The company had been public before Vista bought it for $ 1.94 billion last month.
The good times kept on rolling this year for Salesforce with all of the requisite ingredients of a highly successful cloud company — the steady revenue growth, the expanding product set and the splashy acquisitions. The company also opened the doors of its shiny new headquarters, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, a testament to its sheer economic power in the city.
Salesforce, which set a revenue goal of $ 10 billion a few years ago is already on its way to $ 20 billion. Yet Salesforce is also proof you can be ruthlessly good at what you do, while trying to do the right thing as an organization.
Make no mistake, Marc Benioff and Keith Block, the company’s co-CEOs, want to make obscene amounts of money, going so far as to tell a group of analysts earlier this year that their goal by 2034 is to be a $ 60 billion company. Salesforce just wants to do it with a hint of compassion as it rakes in those big bucks and keeps well-heeled competitors like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP at bay.
A look at the numbers
In the end, a publicly traded company like Salesforce is going to be judged by how much money it makes, and Salesforce it turns out is pretty good at this, as it showed once again this year. The company grew every quarter by over 24 percent YoY and ended up the year with $ 12.53 billion in revenue. Based on its last quarter of $ 3.39 billion, the company finished the year on a $ 13.56 billion run rate.
This compares with $ 9.92 billion in total revenue for 2017 with a closing run rate of $ 10.72 billion.
Even with this steady growth trajectory, it might be some time before it hits the $ 5 billion-a-quarter mark and checks off the $ 20 billion goal. Keep in mind that it took the company three years to get from $ 1.51 billion in Q12016 to $ 3.1 billion in Q12019.
As for the stock market, it has been highly volatile this year, but Salesforce is still up. Starting the year at $ 102.41, it was sitting at $ 124.06 as of publication, after peaking on October 1 at $ 159.86. The market has been on a wild ride since then and cloud stocks have taken a big hit, warranted or not. On one particularly bad day last month, Salesforce had its worst day since 2016 losing 8.7 percent in value,
When you make a lot of money you can afford to spend generously, and the company invested some of those big bucks when it bought Mulesoft for $ 6.5 billion in March, making it the most expensive acquisition it has ever made. With Mulesoft, the company had a missing link between data sitting on-prem in private data centers and Salesforce data in the cloud.
Mulesoft helps customers build access to data wherever it lives via APIs. That includes legacy data sitting in ancient data repositories. As Salesforce turns its eyes toward artificial intelligence and machine learning, it requires oodles of data and Mulesoft was worth opening up the wallet to provide the company with that kind of access to a variety of enterprise data.
But Mulesoft wasn’t the only thing Salesforce bought this year. It made five acquisitions in all. The other significant one came in July when it scooped up Dataorama for a cool $ 800 million, giving it a market intelligence platform.
What could be on board for 2019? If Salesforce sticks to its recent pattern of spending big one year, then regrouping the next, 2019 could be a slower one for acquisitions. Consider that it bought just one company last year after buying a dozen in 2016.
One other way to keep revenue rolling in comes from high-profile partnerships. In the past, Salesforce has partnered with Microsoft and Google, and this year it announced that it was teaming up with Apple. Salesforce also announced another high-profile arrangement with AWS to share data between the two platforms more easily. The hope with these types of cross pollination is that the companies can both increase their business. For Salesforce, that means using these partnerships as a platform to move the revenue needle faster.
Even while his company has made big bucks, Benioff has been preaching compassionate capitalism using Twitter and the media as his soap box.
He went on record throughout this year supporting Prop C, a referendum question designed to help battle San Francisco’s massive homeless problem by taxing companies with greater than $ 50 million in revenue — companies like Salesforce. Benioff was a vocal proponent of the idea, and it won. He did not find kindred spirits among some of his fellow San Francisco tech CEOs, openly debating Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Twitter.
Speaking about Prop C in an interview with Kara Swisher of Recode in November, Benioff talked in lofty terms about why he believed in the measure even though it would cost his company money.
“You’ve got to really be mindful and think about what it is that you want your company to be for and what you’re doing with your business and here at Salesforce, that’s very important to us,” he told Swisher in the interview.
He also talked about how employees at other tech companies were driving their CEOs to change their tune around social issues, including supporting Prop C, but Benioff had to deal with his own internal insurrection this year when 650 employees signed a petition asking him to rethink Salesforce’s contract with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in light of the current administration’s border policies. Benioff defended the contract, stating that that Salesforce tools were being used internally at CBP for staff recruiting and communication and not to enforce border policy.
Regardless, Salesforce has never lost its focus on meeting lofty revenue goals, and as we approach the new year, there is no reason to think that will change. The company will continue to look for new ways to expand markets and keep their revenue moving ever closer to that $ 20 billion goal, even as it continues to meld its unique form of compassion and capitalism.
Microsoft is capping off a rather impressive year without any major missteps in its final report for its performance in its 2018 fiscal year, posting a quarter that seems to have been largely non-offensive to Wall Street.
In the past year, Microsoft’s stock has gone up more than 40 percent. In the past two years, it’s nearly doubled. All of this came after something around a decade of that price not really doing anything as Microsoft initially missed major trends like the shift to mobile and the cloud. But since then, new CEO Satya Nadella has turned that around and increased the company’s focused on both, and Azure is now one of the company’s biggest highlights. Microsoft is now an $ 800 billion company, which, while still considerably behind Apple, Amazon and Google, is a considerable high considering the past decade.
In addition, Microsoft passed $ 100 billion in revenue for a fiscal year. So, as you might expect, the stock didn’t really do anything, given that nothing seemed to be too wrong with what was going on. For a company that’s at around $ 800 billion, that it’s not doing anything bad at this point is likely a good thing. That Microsoft is even in the discussion of being one of the companies chasing a $ 1 trillion market cap is likely something we wouldn’t have been talking about just three or four years ago.
The company said it generated $ 30.1 billion in revenue, up 17 percent year-over-year, and adjusted earnings of $ 1.13 per share. Analysts were looking for earnings of $ 1.08 per share on revenue of $ 29.23 billion.
So, under Nadella, this is more or less a tale of two Microsofts — one squarely pointed at a future of productivity software with an affinity toward cloud and mobile tools (though Windows is obviously still a part of this), and one that was centered around the home PC. Here are a couple of highlights from the report:
- LinkedIn: Microsoft said revenue for LinkedIn increased 37 percent, with LinkedIn sessions growth of 41 percent. Microsoft’s professional network was also listed in a bucket of other segments that it attributed to increased operating expenditures, which also included cloud engineering, and commercial sales capacity. It was also bucketed into a 12 percent increase in research and development with cloud engineering, as well as a bump in sales and marketing expenses. This all seems pretty normal for a network Microsoft hopes to continue to grow.
- Azure: Microsoft’s cloud platform continued to drive its server products and cloud services revenue, which increased 26 percent. The company said Azure’s revenue was up 89 percent “due to growth from consumed and SaaS revenue.” Once again, Microsoft didn’t break out specifics on its Azure products, though it seems pretty clear that this is one of their primary growth drivers.
- Office 365: Office 365 saw commercial revenue growth of 38 percent, and consumer subscribers increased to 31.4 million. Alongside LinkedIn, Microsoft seems to be assembling a substantial number of subscription SaaS products that offset a shift in its model away from personal computing and into a more cloud-oriented company.
- GitHub: Nada here in the report. Microsoft earlier this year said it acquired it for a very large sum of money (in stock), but it isn’t talking about it. But bucket it alongside Office 365 and LinkedIn as part of that increasingly large stable of productivity tools for businesses, as GitHub is one of the most widely adopted developer tools available.
Bots, your days of tweeting politically divisive nonsense might be numbered. The Washington Post reported Friday that in the last few months Twitter has aggressively suspended accounts in an effort to stem the spread of disinformation running rampant on its platform.
The Washington Post reports that Twitter suspended as many as 70 million accounts between May and June of this year, with no signs of slowing down in July. According to data obtained by the Post, the platform suspended 13 million accounts during a weeklong spike of bot banning activity in mid-May.
Sources tell the Post that the uptick in suspensions is tied to the company’s efforts to comply with scrutiny from the congressional investigation into Russian disinformation on social platforms. The report adds that Twitter investigates bots and other fake accounts through an internal project known as “Operation Megaphone” through which it buys suspicious accounts and then investigates their connections.
Twitter declined to provide additional information about The Washington Post report, but pointed us to a blog post from last week in which it disclosed other numbers related to its bot-hunting efforts. In May of 2018, Twitter identified more than 9.9 million suspicious accounts — triple its efforts in late 2017.
When Twitter identifies an account that it deems suspicious, it then “challenges” that account, giving legitimate Twitter users an opportunity to prove their sentience by confirming a phone number. When an account fails this test it gets the boot, while accounts that pass are reinstated.
As Twitter noted in its recent blog post, bots can make users look good by artificially inflating follower counts.
“As a result of these improvements, some people may notice their own account metrics change more regularly,” Twitter warned. The company noted that cracking down on fake accounts means that “malicious actors” won’t be able to promote their own content and accounts as easily by inflating their own numbers. Kicking users off a platform, fake or not, is a risk for a company that regularly reports its monthly active users, though only a temporary one.
As the report notes, at least one insider expects Twitter’s Q2 active user numbers to dip, reflecting its shift in enforcement. Still, any temporary user number setback would prove nominal for a platform that should focus on healthy user growth. Facebook is facing a similar reckoning as a result of the Russian bot scandal, as the company anticipates user engagement stats to dip as it moves to emphasize quality user experiences over juiced-up quarterly numbers. In both cases, it’s a worthy trade-off.
Snap’s stock investors haven’t made much money since the company went public last year, but CEO Evan Spiegel still got a hefty payday. According to an SEC filing, he was granted an RSU of 37,447,817, which vested at the time of the IPO. In other words, that was worth nearly $ 636.6 million. His salary for the year was $ 98,078, and he had over $ 1 million in other benefits, so all in… Read More
Social – TechCrunch
Holy hell, it’s been a year for Amazon. Jeff Bezos’ former-online-bookstore dumped $ 13.7 billion to buy a bunch of grocery stores, that speaker you talk to in your living room that Amazon makes is really popular and a bunch of server farms Amazon runs generate more than $ 10 billion in revenue annually. Read More
Twitter is finally having a good day on Wall Street as it heads into the final weeks of the year, and this time around it may be a result of a little bit of optimism from investors. There were two big moves for the company today: first, Twitter said it would begin enforcing new rules related to how it handles hateful and abusive content on the platform, which is a problem that has been… Read More
Social – TechCrunch
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