Why Walmart bought Kosmix?

What surprises me most is not that Kosmix got sold, but of all the companies in the world why did Walmart buy it? Social/web analytics companies are selling like hot cakes, with almost 2-3 acquisitions happening every couple of months in last 3 years (Twitter, Nokia, IBM are buying analytics companies in dozens) but most of these other acquisitions have been done by other technology companies (if not analytics companies). Last time I checked Walmart was supposed to be a retailer and they were hiring companies like Kosmix for work, not buying them. Does it mean social data is so important and promising for Walmart that it wants to keep of all of it in-house? (especially when there’s so much of it)? Are other large companies (with a lot of social customer data) going to follow suite (if they can afford it)?

Does it mean, web/social analytics vendors should consider allowing their clients to own their data inside their premises (or something on those lines) and not on the cloud? For most big retailers and in fact many other companies, keeping customer data + insights secret is extremely critical for maintaining a competitive advantage. Can these companies take the risk of hosting such critical data on cloud under somebody else’s control? Walmart has certainly indicated its reservations! There’s just too much at stake.

It’d be interesting to see what this acquisition entails in terms of industry trend!!

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