Looker and Tableau Acquisitions: What It Means For the BI Industry

The business intelligence (BI) market is changing, including two major acquisitions announced recently.

On June 6, 2019, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. announced that it plans to acquire data visualization platform Looker for $2.6 billion. Then a week later, CRM software company Salesforce revealed that it bought data analytics provider Tableau for $15.7 billion.

And these aren’t the only deals happening in the BI space. For example, around the same time, embedded BI software vendor LogiAnalytics announced its merger with visual analytics solution Zoomdata.

What’s behind these recent acquisitions and mergers, and what impact will the Google-Looker and Salesforce-Tableau deals have on the BI market?

Driving Force Behind Recent Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions are nothing new for any industry, especially BI. However, this wave of consolidations is the biggest since over a decade ago, when Oracle acquired Hyperion, IBM bought out Cognos and SAP acquired Business Objects. So, what’s the driving force behind the acquisitions of Looker and Tableau?

Expansion of BI

One reason is that the cloud analytics market is much stronger now than it was even a few years ago. Adam Wilson, CEO of data analytics company Trifecta, explained in a guest post for VentureBeat that more businesses are investing in cloud-based platform to store their data than ever before.

There’s also been an increased adoption of BI software from nontechnical business users, as well as greater support for cloud deployment. Google and Salesforce already have cloud platforms with the capacity to handle big data, and are looking to give their clients (particularly large companies and enterprises) an intuitive range of analytic tools.


Another reason, according to MarketWatch, is that Google and Salesforce are feeling pressure from Microsoft, a key leader in the BI software market. Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research told MarketWatch that “Microsoft has stepped up their game in the BI space”.

In 2016, Microsoft beat out Salesforce in the LinkedIn purchase deal. And, earlier this year, Microsoft merged with Adobe for an end-to-end B2B and B2C sales and marketing solution.

Though the LinkedIn deal fell through for Salesforce, it has acquired different companies, like cloud integration platform company Mulesoft. Now, Salesforce’s Tableau deal will allow it to give clients the ability to get a complete picture of their customers by visualizing data from more sources, especially in conjunction with its Einstein AI tool.

Aside from Microsoft, Google has additional competiton in the multicloud providers space with Amazon. Google Cloud is currently in third place (behind Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure) and wants to enhance its strategy. In November 2018, Google hired Thomas Kurian, a former Oracle executive, as CEO of Google Cloud. Then in April, it introduced Anthos, an open-source platform that lets companies host their applications both on-premise and in the cloud. Now, adding Looker to its portfolio of platforms will even further boost Google’s multicloud strategy.

Plus, Google and Salesforce will have an additional advantage over Microsoft, as Microsoft’s solutions are only available on the Azure platform, but Looker and Tableau accommodate many other cloud providers.

Any Impacts for Users?

Both the Google-Looker and Salesforce-Tableau deals will close later this year, so it may be too soon to see what the long-term or even short-term impacts are.

According to Google’s news release, Looker will integrate into the Google Cloud suite, so users can take advantage of Looker’s wide range of tools. The two companies already share more than 350 joint customers, but current Looker customers that aren’t Google’s clients can continue to connect to other cloud providers.

In the case of Salesforce and Tableau, Tableau will continue to operate independently from its Seattle headquarters. Also, nothing is expected to change for current Tableau customers that don’t use Salesforce. But current Salesforce customers will be able to use Tableau’s cloud and on-premise solutions to help them further analyze their customer, sales and marketing data.

Stay tuned as these acquisitions shake out in the coming months. In the meantime, if you’re looking for more information on Looker and Tableau, such as reviews, pricing or comparison, head over to our BI page.

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