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Weekly martech review: SAP buys Qualtrics, Alibaba’s record Singles Day sales, Facebook’s Portal now available

In our review of last week’s martech news, we highlight SAP to acquire Qualtrics, Alibaba’s record-high sales on Single’s Day, and Facebook’s new Portal video chat display now on sale.

SAP agrees to buy Qualtrics for $8bn cash

What it is

On Sunday, SAP announced plans to buy market analytics company Qualtrics for $8 billion, just days before their IPO set for Thursday, November 15. Qualtrics’ last funding round placed it at a $2.5 billion valuation, and its IPO was expected to double that.

The acquisition is set to take place in the first half of 2019, and will have Qualtrics become part of SAP’s Cloud Business Group. They’ll continue under their own branding, and with their current headquarters and staff.

Why it matters

This is one of SAP’s biggest acquisitions, and comes not long after Adobe acquired Marketo and IBM acquired Red Hat — two particularly pricey M&As in tech, not to mention a slew of others.

This is yet another instance in the trend of a few tech giants becoming increasingly more dominant.

Alibaba sets new Singles Day sales record with $30.6 billion worth of goods

What it is

Alibaba is China’s ecommerce giant, and on this year’s Singles Day, November 11, they set a new shopping record: $30.6 billion worth of goods sold on its platform in one day.

For comparison, Amazon’s Prime Day sale in July came to a total of $4.2 billion spent in sales. Yesterday, Alibaba beat that number in the first 10 minutes.

Why it matters

The high numbers came as a bit of a surprise to some, given recent concerns over slowing growth in the Chinese economy, not least because of sanctions. At the same time, on a global scale Alibaba is one of the few — if not the only — ecommerce giant that rivals Amazon’s relentless ambition. It’s seen eye-popping growth over the last several years, and while other areas of the economy may be slowing, their strength is evidence of their continued drive to meet consumers’ every need.

Facebook’s Portal video chat displays now on sale in the US

What it is

Portal and Portal+, Facebook’s new video chat smart displays, are now available in the US market on Amazon, Best Buy, and the Facebook website.

The devices were designed to solve for the struggles of video chat, such as bad audio connections and people moving out of camera view. They’re similar to other smart devices, where they sit in one place and respond to voice. A conversation starts as simply as saying “hey Portal, call X.”

They can be used to talk with friends as Messenger. They have AI-powered cameras that follow you around the room so you don’t accidentally move out of view. They also use four microphones, just to make sure the audio is always sharp.

Why it matters

Facebook was quite vocal in designing for privacy and assuring users that they meant it. The devices come with camera covers, 4 to 12 digit passcodes, and encrypted calls. They say you can turn the video and audio off, log on to and delete your call history from Facebook, and that none of what happens on the video calls will be able to be accessed by Facebook or used for advertising.

Before you go

  • Facebook and Google backed Tim Berners-Lee’s Case #ForTheWeb.
  • Amazon’s planning to split their HQ2 between Queens, NY and Crystal City, VA (a suburb of DC).
  • California-based data insights provider Datacoral raised $10 million in Series A funding.
  • San Fan-based online collaboration and whiteboarding platform RealtimeBoard raised $25M Series A funding.
  • LinkedIn launched the public beta version of objective-based advertising in its Campaign Manager, making it easier to measure business impact, optimize clicks, generate leads, and estimate expected results.
  • People can’t explain the difference between blockchain and bitcoin, so agencies are going educational.

See something we missed? Leave us a comment below!

The post Weekly martech review: SAP buys Qualtrics, Alibaba’s record Singles Day sales, Facebook’s Portal now available appeared first on ClickZ.

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