We're well into May now, but Microsoft's announcement that it is buying Skype for an eye-watering $8.5bn had many of us checking that it wasn't April Fool's Day.
The Skype deal is yet another sign that we are in for a new bubble in mergers and acquisitions in the technology industry. There were indications of this in 2007, but the banking implosion brought people back down to earth for a while.
However, for the past year there have been worrying signs of people losing contact with reality when it comes to pricing technology firms.
That's not to say there aren't good deals to be had. Several companies that have been at the forefront of technology waves such as cloud computing and social networking are ripe for the plucking, and some would welcome the opportunity to cash out. There are a lot of good mergers to be had, but plenty of bad ones as well.
Do not put your savings on this; Shaun and I are many things, but masters of the vagaries of the financial exchanges is not on our CVs.
Nevertheless, we think there are some good choices here. There's a couple of absolute fliers as well to start with, just for fun. As ever, let us know if you think we've missed any.
Honourable Mention: Dell
Iain Thomson: This one is certainly in the flier territory, and Shaun registered several snorts of derision, but hear me out.
Say you're an up and coming PC vendor in China or India. The white box business is fading as those markets get affluent enough to want the consistency that comes with a brand name product.
If you've got a billion or so in seed capital, a leveraged buyout could be conceivable. There's still plenty of money floating around for those countries that didn't let their financial sector run amok, and Dell might be tempting.
It's a very long shot but, for a foreign vendor looking to break into the US market, it would provide an instant in, of the kind Lenovo got from its deal with IBM.
Dell, or rather its shareholders, might also be tempted to sell part of the company. The desktop division would almost certainly be up for sale (it's a dying market in the US and Europe) and possibly laptops too.
That said, any deal would be subject to some pretty heavy regulatory scrutiny, such are the current levels of paranoia. But tougher hurdles have been overcome in the past. I'm not expecting this to happen any time soon, but it's a long-term possibility.
Shaun Nichols: Sorry Iain, I just don't see this one happening with the way the market is these days.
Aside from desktop PCs being a declining market in many of the larger economies, developing nations are in many cases going straight to smartphones for their day-to-day computing activities.
On top of that, desktop computers are, and always have been, a very low-margin business. Even with Dell's extensive reach into the market, it would be hard to see a prospective buyer being able to justify the cost.
Meanwhile, Dell's more lucrative server and enterprise hardware operations would fetch a huge price that few companies could afford. Perhaps a major player from Asia looking to enter the US and European markets could pull it off, but I have my doubts that we'll see Dell bought any time soon.
Honourable Mention: Salesforce.com
Shaun Nichols: Software-as-a-service trailblazer Salesforce has been one of the most coveted firms in the business over recent years, and rumours have seen the company tied to names such as Google.
It's not hard to see why Salesforce would be an attractive acquisition target. The company has blossomed from an alternative customer relationship management (CRM) service for smaller firms, into one of the most important players in the enterprise cloud computing market.
The flagship CRM service is now complemented by the Force.com cloud application platform and the Chatter social networking service, and the company now counts some of the largest enterprises on the planet among its customers.
Neither Iain nor myself see an acquisition coming any time soon. The reason sits firmly atop the company.
Founder and chief executive Marc Benioff is a true believer in himself and his vision; an imposing executive presence on par with the likes of Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison. Any attempt to make Benioff or his company answer to a boss is likely to be a disaster for all parties involved.
Iain Thomson: You're not kidding, Shaun. Such is the corporate culture I can imagine him calling a jihad on the acquirers and sending out hordes of employees to explain earnestly why this is a bad idea.
Well, I took a flier on Dell and this one is down to Shaun. He's right in that Salesforce is a tempting target, but I really don't see it happening in our lifetimes.
The company that pioneered modern cloud applications is a tempting target, with good profit margins and excellent technology, but it won't sell for love nor money. Plus, I suspect Benioff has a Jobs-like influence on his staff as 'inspirer-in-chief'.
I'm sure there are plenty of companies that wish they'd tried harder to take over Salesforce in the early days - one beginning with 'S' springs strongly to mind - but the company likes to plough its own furrow and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
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