Tech innovator Google has revealed, this week, a plan to acquire data analytics company Looker in a deal worth $2.6 billion in cash. It will be the first big move for Google’s new cloud chief, former Oracle executive Thomas Kurian.
Kurian moved into the CEO position at Google Cloud in November, after Diane Greene vacated the post. Then, at a conference in February, Kurian said he is considering investments and expansion in the business, noting that growth acceleration will continue to improve.
In a statement, Kurian explains, “Google Cloud is being used by many of the leading organizations in the world for analytics and decision-making. The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable customers to harness data in new ways to drive their digital transformation.”
If this sounds familiar then you might already know that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, already invested in Looker. This was done through Alphabet’s venture fund chapter, Capital G. Along with being the biggest move for the new CEO, this is also Google’s biggest acquisition since buying Nest—which is also funded by Alphabet—for $3.2 billion, in 2014.
Google’s bold move is yet another attempt to levy market share away from the leader, Amazon Web Services. AWS actually reported $7.7 billion in revenue, last quarter alone. Now, Google does not isolate cloud business revenue but has commented it is gathers around $1 billion per quarter between its public cloud and cloud apps sectors. And of the three major cloud competitors, Google only has about 7.6 percent of the cloud market share (by 2018 year end). Microsoft’s share came in around 13.7 percent and Amazon more than doubled that, at 32 percent.
Google says that the addition of Looker will bring a new analytical tool to Google Cloud customers. According to Google, this technology will help customers analyze their data with more consistency across several different sources. It will also help Google more accurately and effectively provide industry-specific analytics for targeted metrics.
Looker’s appeal is as a business-intelligence tool that works on several cloud platforms—including Google—and also integrates with a handful of other databases that actually compete with other Google products. Kurian has also said that Looker will continue to collaborate with other products, and that includes Redshift, from Amazon Web Services, and Azure SQL Server from Microsoft.