In the CDN ecosystem, there are many startups that are ripe for the acquisition. Akamai, which has an appetite for acquiring start-ups, is in a great position. It’s flush with cash and its hefty stock price helps it buy start-ups on the fly.
But every once in a while, it misses a golden opportunity. What’s even more rare, is when Akamai misses two golden opportunities in one month. But that’s what happened. First, it was EdgeCast to Verizon, and now it’s Aspera to IBM. I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, maybe Akamai had the chance to buy both companies and passed. Regardless of the reason, acquiring these two companies would have added an incredible amount of depth to their service portfolio and eliminated one major competitor.
I think we can all agree that EdgeCast was a lost opportunity for Akamai. Aspera on the other hand, a small and relatively unknown company, powers the digital distribution supply chains for the worlds largest media conglomerates including Netflix, Apple, and Amazon.
Alex Williams from TechCrunch, noted that IBM Sterling Group, Tibco, Ipswitch and Globalscape offer file transfer alternatives. Next, he quoted Gartner Research saying WAN Optimization market will hit $4.4 billion by 2014. Lets clear things up. WAN Optimization has nothing to do with file transfer. Aryaka Networks and Riverbed are WAN Optimization companies, not Aspera.
IBM Sterling Group, Tibco, Ipswitch and Globalscape don’t compete with Aspera. Aspera and Signiant are the market share leaders in high performance file transfer, especially in the media segment. No one else comes close.
Aspera’s roots are in digital media supply chain distribution. Digital media distribution is very complex. It’s not like sharing word documents across different locations. In the content creation world, studios must adhere to a strict set of workflows that go from camera to editing system to encoder to other systems before its viewed by the final consumer. Aspera is built specifically for this intricate workflow process.
All is not lost. Akamai has one more opportunity to make amends. There is one more company left out there that goes by the name of Signiant. If they don’t buy Signiant, they lose the opportunity to buy a premium customer base of the largest media companies in the world. That would be a shame.
Therefore, I predict Akamai will acquire Signiant in 1- 3 months.