No doubt this week's acquisition of MA's largest tech company, EMC, by a financially owned and operated banana handler from the last century (Dell) was a bad day for the Boston technology ecosystem. Not only should we expect to lose a whole bunch of jobs but over time there is little doubt in my mind that "EMC east" will become yet another satellite office to a company whose main decision makers will live and work elsewhere. And on top of it, this is one less acquirer in a ecosystem that is full of infrastructure startups, most of which would have hoped to have EMC as a bidder at some point, even if only to create a real auction.
The deal rings of another one of these mega mergers: HP and Compaq in 2002. Back then, Sun's outspoken CEO, Scott McNealy described it something like two garbage trucks crashing in the night which was both funny and sad (and then a little ironic when a handful of years later his company had its own two truck moment with Oracle).
I am not sure whether this new merger will work any better than the aforementioned technology "big deals" have. What is most remarkable about the whole thing though is how the pace of collapse among the large big tech companies seems to be accelerating. Just this year HP, sucking wind and up against the ropes, decided to split itself up in a desperate attempt at being more nimble (having worked there, I am highly doubtful it is going to work). And all of this amidst the backdrop of Amazon— a retailer of all things— announcing a phenomenal rate of growth in their cloud business.
It's sort of cliche to declare that the rate of change is accelerating in the technology industry but nowhere does it seem more obvious than in the creative destruction that the combination of the smartphone and the cloud seem to be wreaking on all of these previously unassailable tech giants.