Tech companies have not been shy about spending big bucks on up-and-coming startups in 2014.
Facebook in particular has already doled out more than $20 billion in some big-name acquisitions. Google has also had a few transactions, buying two startups for billions of dollars before selling Motorola.
A fourth of the way into 2014, here are five of the biggest and most notable tech acquisitions thus far:
1. Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion
In one of the biggest tech deals of all time, Facebook snatched up popular mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion. The deal is Facebook’s largest acquisition thus far and made the company’s 2012 $1 billion purchase of Instagram look like child’s play. WhatsApp was able to sell for so much thanks to its devoted community of more than 400 million users.
2. Google buys Nest for $3.2 billion
Google kicked off the tech world’s 2014 shopping spree with its early January acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest is a pioneer in the so-called “Internet of Things” and sells a smart thermostat as well as a smart smoke alarm called the Nest Protect.
Unfortunately for Nest and Google, a problem with the Nest Protect was discovered recently, causing Nest this week to halt sales of the product.
3. Lenovo buys Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion
After buying Nest, Google sold Motorola for almost as much money -- $2.91 billion to be exact. But it was a poor return on its 2011 $12.5 billion purchase of the phone manufacturer. Google and Motorola were never truly able to mesh, and it appears the Mountain View, Calif., tech giant decided it was better for the two to part ways.
Meanwhile, Lenovo bought Motorola hoping the purchase will help it gain a larger foothold in the smartphone market. The Chinese company said it fully intends to compete with and beat Apple and Samsung.
4. Facebook buys Oculus for $2 billion
After spending $19 billion on WhatsApp, Facebook easily doled out an additional $2 billion in its acquisition of Oculus, an Irvine startup specializing in virtual reality. Oculus gained a following in the tech and gaming worlds after successfully funding the Rift, a video-gaming headset, through Kickstarter, but its agreement to sell to Facebook upset many of its fans. It’s unclear what Facebook has planned for the company.
5. Google buys DeepMind for $500 million
Not long after buying Nest and just before selling Motorola, Google spent half a billion dollars acquiring DeepMind, a British tech company that hoped to one day make computers think like humans. Google may have been most interested in the company’s numerous artificial intelligence experts.