At the moment, the mantra in smart grid is ‘Software, software, software.’ Across the board, the biggest players are snapping up the most promising software vendors, at a clip we’ve not before witnessed in this industry.
While there have been notable purchases in the past, the acquisition of Ventyx by ABB for over $1 billion (to strengthen the latter’s network management business) was one of the early “Holy cow!” moments. Next was Schneider Electric with its roughly $2 billion takeover of Telvent (soon after having purchased the distribution arm of Areva T&D for more than $1 billion). Meanwhile, GE announced that it was putting much more emphasis on software across the entire company, opening a new facility in northern California and investing as much as $1 billion on software development through 2015. Further, in Q4 2011, GE announced that it is now offering a software-as-a-service solution as part of its solution portfolio, something of a new twist for the industrial giant. GE, it could be argued, has actually been the quietest of the titans on the software-acquisition front. However, having said that, GE did have a nice pickup with Opal at the end of 2010.