16. VMware Nicira

In 2012, VMware acquired Nicira, a five-year-old software-defined networking (SDN) start-up company for a whopping $1.2 billion. Nicira was founded by a team of engineers from Stanford who had built pioneering research in how to change the way networking had worked for decades. The price tag seemed rather staggering for a company that is rumored to have had only about $50 million in revenue at the time of acquisition, but it turns out that VMware not only saw this as a strategic acquisition but also was in a bit of a bidding war with Cisco Systems. Not only did they pay a ton of money for Nicira, but the acquisition ultimately led to some disruption of a lucrative partnership that VMware had with Cisco along with VMware’s parent ...

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