Google Cloud has closed its $2.6 billion acquisition of business intelligence (BI) specialist Looker, the company confirmed today, a day after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave the deal the go-ahead.
CEO Thomas Kurian said the acquisition “will strengthen Google Cloud’s analytics and data warehouse capabilities, including BigQuery”.
Bay Area-based Looker is a unified data platform provider. GCP had announced a commitment to buy the company in June 2019.
It has a 1,700-strong customer base that includes Amazon, IBM, Kickstarter, Sony, Spotify and The Economist and has offices in San Francisco, New York, Boulder, London, Tokyo and Dublin. It was founded in 2011.
The two companies already shared more than 350 joint customers, including Buzzfeed, Hearst, King, Sunrun, WPP Essence, and Yahoo!
Looker CEO Frank Bien reiterated to customers that the move would not mean an end to the company’s multicloud capabilities.
He said: “Looker customers will continue to have the freedom to choose from any cloud data management system like Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Snowflake, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Teradata and more.
He added: “Over the coming months we will share more details about our product integration plans and roadmap. I would like to thank all of our 2,000+ customers and over 160 global partners for their support over the years and look forward to sharing the exciting work we have ahead.”
The CMA said: “The CMA considered whether the loss of direct competition between Google and Looker in the supply of BI tools could lead to increased prices or reductions in quality. The CMA found this was unlikely because Google and Looker are not considered close competitors by businesses using BI tools, who can still choose from other providers, including Microsoft, Oracle, Tableau, SAP and IBM.
It added: “The CMA considered whether Google could leverage its market power in online advertising and web analytics to drive rival BI providers out of the market. The CMA found that although Google had the ability to make it difficult for rivals to access the Google-generated data they need from online advertising and web analytics services, there was no strong evidence they would have the incentive to do this.”
Most Looker Customers Use it for Decentralised Analytics
Howard Dresner, Chief Research Officer, Dresner Advisory Services added in a canned statement. “There is no slowing in the data analytics and business intelligence market… We see synergy and nominal overlap between their solutions, and believe this acquisition should strengthen their ability to serve enterprise customers.”
A large majority of Looker’s reference customers use it for decentralised analytics (72 percent), while just over half also use it for centralised BI provisioning, Gartner said: “Looker’s key differentiator is native support for cloud-based analytic databases, particularly Amazon (Redshift, Athena), Google BigQuery and Snowflake. “
The research house added in its 2019 Magic Quadrant for for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms: “Whereas most competing tools use their own in-memory, columnar storage, Looker always uses the database for processing and mashups. LookML is a browser-based, SQL-like modeling language for power users.
“Its data scalability is in the top tier, with 36% of Looker’s reference customers analyzing more than 1 terabyte of data and a median of 585 million row tables.”
A primary criticism in the Magic Quadrant: poor ease-of-use. The report notes: “As Looker’s data modeling requires coding, business users find its product more difficult to use than point-and-click solutions. A large percentage of its reference customers (40%) said that poor ease of use for business users limits broad deployment — the highest figure for any vendor in this Magic Quadrant.”