The 12 game-changing enterprise deals of 2016

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Jeff Weiner (left), Satya Nadella (middle), Reid Hoffman (right)
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Microsoft

While 2016 was a lot of things, it certainly wasn’t boring.

In between things like Brexit and the US presidential election, 2016 was also a huge year for the world of enterprise technology, with mergers, IPOs, and power plays by the world’s largest tech companies.

These are deals that turned heads and made fortunes.

We’ve looked back through the year and selected these 12 deals as the biggest and most important of the year.


Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn, the Redmond giant’s biggest ever, raised a ton of eyebrows and ended the company’s brief truce with cloud software provider Salesforce, which also wanted the company.

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Jeff Weiner (left), Satya Nadella (middle), Reid Hoffman (right)
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Microsoft

Speaking of Salesforce, the cloud company went on a $5 billion shopping spree, buying up startups like Twin Prime, BeyondCore, and Coolan.

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Getty Images

Among Salesforce’s purchases were Quip, a word processing startup that was founded by former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor. This purchase was taken as something of a challenge to Microsoft and its lucrative Office business.

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Quip

(Benioff also spearheaded a Salesforce bid for Twitter, which would have made some real ripples in the tech industry. But investors put the kibosh on that plan and the deal fell through.)


This year also saw Larry Ellison add $3.5 billion to his personal fortune after Oracle bought Netsuite —a company he owned a sizable stake in — for $9.3 billion.

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

And while the $67 billion Dell/EMC merger was announced last year, Dell had to jump through major hoops throughout 2016 to make it happen. It closed in September 2016 and was the largest pure-tech deal in history.

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EMC CEO Joe Tucci (left) shakes hands with Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell (right)
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Dell

Meanwhile, GE bought ServiceMax, a cloud software company, for $915 million, as the industrial giant races to build out its IT expertise.

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REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

In February, Cisco bought Jasper for $1.4 billion to put itself front-and-center in the booming “Internet of Things’ market, which it predicts will eventually become a $19 trillion market.

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Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins
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Business Insider/screen capture

Google showed how serious it is about challenging Amazon Web Services for cloud computing by snapping up the publicly-traded Apigee for $625 million gaining access to Apigee’s over 300 enterprise customers.

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Google cloud chief Diane Greene
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Business Insider/Okta

This year also saw a handful of enterprise tech companies, like Marketo and Qlik take themselves private. Notably, Rackspace Hosting sold itself to private equity firm Apollo Global for $4.3 billion amid mounting pressure from Amazon Web Services.

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Rackspace CTO John Engates
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Reuters

Not all the big game-changing deals this year carried price tags. For instance, VMware gave into customer pressure and agreed to partner up with its arch rival Amazon Web Services to make its software work with Amazon’s cloud.

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Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy
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Amazon

Amazon scored another huge win in May when Salesforce announced it would be bringing certain products to the Amazon Web Services cloud. It’s yet another sign that the Salesforce/Microsoft love affair is over.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

And, in a year where acquisitions ruled and IPOs were rare, cloud communication company Twilio’s IPO in June was a massive success, raising $150 million and then skyrocketing upward in a months-long run. Twilio’s stock price has cooled in recent months, but the company’s success paved the way for the rest of the year’s tech IPOs, after a drought that lasted the first two quarters of 2016.

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Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson on the day of the IPO
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Twilio/Twitter