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Google Businesses The Internet Security

Google to Acquire Postini 147

Dynamoo writes "Google has announced that it is to acquire Postini, company best known for its corporate spam filtering and security service, but also active in Instant Messaging and compliance area. The deal is to purchase Postini for $625m in cash. The acquisition is slated to enhance Google's application portfolio, and Google will also acquire several very large Blue Chip customers that have previously eluded it."
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Google to Acquire Postini

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  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @10:33AM (#19800239)
    Hey! It could happen!

    No lines, no waiting, free food and drinks, but the windows are replaced with screens showing advertisements 100% of the time.

    • by SolusSD ( 680489 )
      shh!! dont *give* google these ideas!! they come up w/ them on their own fast enough! At least charge a consulting fee!
    • by hey! ( 33014 )
      Nope. The next step is Google Enhanced Reality. You strap on goggles that make everything so much more convenient and simple, but you get ads floating in your peripheral vision like a bashful maiden.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by iago-vL ( 760581 )
        I believe you mean "strap on the googles".
      • It also informs the Chinese government of the exact location of those who search for forbidden terms/subjects or put them on blogs- then it provides options on how to best allocate resources to "plug the leak".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Google would run an airline if doing so would give its computers access to all of the mail and data emanating from random users. Postini software screens the e-mails received by thousands upon thousands of employees of huge corporate entities. Depending on the licensing agreement Postini has in place with its customers, Google may be acquiring a huge database of mail to run its search algorithms through.
    • by kypper ( 446750 )
      That's actually a fantastic idea.

      With the introduction of RyanAir [] and EasyJet [] in Europe, air travel has taken off, forcing the standard companies such as British Airways to drop their prices and offer more affordable travel. A passenger on there one said to me, "I travel home to Rome once a month because it's cheaper than driving there."

      My point being, nothing here in North America comes close; we are desperately in need of a discount airline that provides affordable travel. Google could leverage this need
      • I know. I wasnt kidding. This is the future.
      • Yeah, but the distances are short. I can get a $145 round trip ticket from NY to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, which is nearly 200km further. I don't know how much that fare is to Rome, but $77 each way for 1700km is cheaper than the price of gas here in the US for an efficient sedan.
        • by j79zlr ( 930600 )
          I was thinking the same thing, you can pretty much fly anywhere in the continental 48 for less than $200 with an advanced purchase of a month or more.
        • by radish ( 98371 )
          Ryan Air is crazily cheap (to the point where I have no idea how they make money). I took a quick look on their site and they list prices from the Birmingham (UK) to Rome - a 2100km journey by car - at around $35 each way.
      • Except, of course, that low cost comes with other prices.

        Baggage fees, for example - at 5 pounds/kg over weight for checked luggage, if you're traveling for more than a couple days, you're going to be hosed on that one.

        More importantly, perhaps, Ryan Air saves costs at all levels. I was recently in Bristol International for a Ryan Air flight to Shannon. It was cheap - ~70 euro for myself and my wife (not counting the overweight baggage fees). We were scheduled to leave at 1805, and we even boarded a little
        • by RxScram ( 948658 )

          ... at 5 pounds/kg over weight ...
          That one took me a second to decipher :-)
          • It didn't look real good as I typed it, to be honest, but I couldn't be bothered to look up the keycode for the actual pound symbol (or the euro, for that matter), so I just let it slide.

            Although if it really were 5 pounds (force) per 1 kg (mass), I imagine the US would adopt metric much faster than we are. I mean, a woman could say her weight was 30 instead of 150. That'd have to be a hit.
    • by PPCzee ( 1125797 )
      Enhanced reality....and interesting concept for the world of SEO and PPC....
    • by mgblst ( 80109 )
      Did you know that the windows are actually the weakest part of the airplane, so this wouldn't be such a bad idea. As long as you can still pull the curtains across, of course.
    • by MalHavoc ( 590724 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @12:19PM (#19801765)
      And when you buy your ticket, you can click "I'm feeling lucky" and end up in the middle of nowhere. Awesome!
    • After flying American Airlines recently, I wouldn't mind your scenario at all.
    • It could happen. Perhaps that is the real reason Larry Page and Sergey Brin (googles co-founders) bought a Boeing 767. 7_Jumbo_Jet []
  • There is some additional commentary [] on the deal on Centernetworks.
  • Mark me as OT, but damn. I really wish I could make a startup and sell it to google for $1million let alone the $500M+ these smaller companies seem to be getting.
    • by hey ( 83763 )
      I agree, that seems like waaaay to much for a spam filter.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jshriverWVU ( 810740 )
        Especially when they have their own wonderful top of the line spam filters. The first year I used gmail I never received a single spam. Then I started using my email more publically and after a couple years I might get 2-3 a day but they end up in my spam folder. In the past couple years I can say probably less than 20 spam emails have made it into my inbox. So not sure why they would want to buy this, unless it was to keep competition low. While I like google, and hope this isn't the case, I dont see any o
        • I was stupid enough to provide my gmail address as a mailto: link in a Slashdot submission that got accepted. I now get about 200 spam messages a day in my inbox. Luckily, there seem to be few false positives, and probably only about 0.5% slips through to my inbox. It seems to learn really well.
          • by bberens ( 965711 )
            Yeah, for a while the image spam was making it through google's spam filter, but now it appears to be PDF spam. I average 1 per day in my in-box. *mutter*
    • by rumith ( 983060 )
      Why, making a startup and earning the said $1million by yourself is no longer an option? Just curious.
      • You get a quicker payoff if someone buys you out. For a million dollar buyout, the company might only be making profits of $200K/year or so.

        I think there is also the perception of Google buying companies to add to their portfolio, not necessarily ones that generate a good profit. I think there might be some hope that you could come up with an interesting idea, not necessarily a very profitable one, and Google would buy you out for the cool factor alone.
    • They have a large customer base and I am told that they were preparing to go public. So this isn't 2 guys in a garage, more like 300 people or so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        So this isn't 2 guys in a garage, more like 300 people or so.
        Must be a large garage
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Well they're 8 years old and they passed 10 million users and a billion messages a day last year, so they're a bit more than a startup.

  • In cash? (Score:2, Funny)

    by krazo ( 220290 )
    Google will acquire Postini for $625 million in cash

    Mr. Postini: You have the briefcase, Page?

    Brin pulls an uzi from under his jacket.

    Page: Just sign the papers, Postini.
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by js290 ( 697670 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @10:44AM (#19800411)
    The institution I work has been using Postini for almost a year now. It works pretty well. But, I've also used DSPAM and Spamassassin, and Postini is definitely not $625M better than either of those two.
    • They don't buy it because it is superior technology. They pay for the customers. Aquiring thousands of customers to which you can sell a product you didn't even have to develop yourself is worth a lot. They are probably also trying to cultivate those customer relationships. Maybe some of those that wants a Google Postini might also want a Google Search or a Google Office?
    • by smchris ( 464899 )
      The institution I work has been using Postini for almost a year now. It works pretty well. But, I've also used DSPAM and Spamassassin, and Postini is definitely not $625M better than either of those two.

      I'm guessing you're the one who's right. Results talk. The local ISP I use has been pretty sharp and customer-responsive. They just completed their move AWAY from Postini (I could almost say the other "day" for amusing timing) after several years to a product they believe will be more flexible and respons
    • by *weasel ( 174362 )
      Yes but DSPAM and Spamassassin don't fit perfectly into Google's plan to co-opt small to mid-size corporate email.

      As a spam-filtering go-between, Google gets right back to their earlier push to get corporate users using for-pay gmail. But now it's a value-added service and doesn't require that you give up exchange (initially).

      When the rest of the google apps catch up, it'll be that much easier to pitch a cut-over.
      I'd imagine the next step would be more application-glue to integrate exchange calendars and p
    • But it's $625M more enterprisey!
    • by C_Kode ( 102755 )
      Umm. Postini != DSPAM + Spamassassin.

      Postini is a fully managed service. DSPAM and Spamassassin is not.

      I have used Spamassassin and Postini (not DSPAM) Postini is a cakewalk, Spamassassin while good, is not. Postini offers many things that DSPAN and Spamassassin does not. Like email spooling among other things. I think the best part of Postini is that I don't have to manage the hardware and software. I create Postini accounts and thats about it.

      Also, I do not allow any connections originating from th
    • by dave562 ( 969951 )
      We use Postini here too. One of the benefits is that Postini's servers deal with all of the spam and it never even hits the perimeter of your network. They also give your domain some level of obfuscation because your MX records point to Postini's servers instead of your own.
    • If I had to guess why it's worth $millions, I'd say it's because of Google Apps for the Enterprise [].

      Imagine you're wanting to make a service offering to host corporate America's email, which includes all of the private juicy tidbits of data that are in it as well. It makes a lot more sense, from the corporate entity's standpoint to have that interaction be with one outsourced company, not two like it is today (READ: Gmail for your domain currently uses Postini for anti-SPAM). Add onto that the compliance
  • Google buys (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @10:47AM (#19800441) Journal
    Googling "google buys" provides a pretty rich and varied list of Google's acquisitions: YouTube, Grand Central, Feedburner, Measure Map... and on and on and on. There's even rumours in some parts that a tie up between Google and Apple might be on the cards. Sorry, but it's getting to the point where "Google buys" stories just aren't informative anymore.
    • Sorry, but it's getting to the point where "Google buys" stories just aren't informative anymore.

      Just you wait until they launch their gBuy service...
    • by shaggy43 ( 21472 )
      Unfortunately, they are to some people....

      I read this, and IM'ed one of my friends who works for Postini, and they found out about the deal from me. :(
      • Yeah, I mean, it's not like Postini is touting the buyout on the front page of their website [] or anything...
        • by shaggy43 ( 21472 )
          Do you wake up and immediately check your company's web site every morning for news of a takeover or merger? Or do you assume there will be an internal, all-hands type of meeting to tel you *before* your friends find out?

          If your answer is the first one, you either haven't worked yet, or need to go find a better job, fast.
          • No, I have alerts programmed on Google News to alert me to when the name of my company is in a news story. So far I've known several days in advance to all the major things our company has done compared to when the rest of the employees are notified.
          • I would assume that I'd receive some sort of internal notification. However, I've also worked with a bunch of people who trash most internal messages without reading them first. I've witnessed co-workers being surprised to find out some big new days after everyone else who bothered to read their email did. I'm not saying that's what happened to your friend, but it does happen...
          • No. They tell everyone at the same time. Why? Well, those with investments in the company (stocks & options) will be watched prior to the sale by the SEC for evidence of "speculative trading" (that's what I like to call "insider trading"). A multi-hundred-million dollar buyout is a big deal and moves slowly. Be sure that the execs and the BOD have been cooking this up for months. I believe Postini is privately held, which makes the sale easier, but there is still the opportunity for all sorts of insider
    • by 3mpire ( 953036 )
      So when do the "they can't innovate so they just buy their way into new markets" comments start?
    • It's still informative, just not interesting. I was informed by reading this article that Google bought Postini, but I don't care anymore.
    • Sorry, but it's getting to the point where "Google buys" stories just aren't informative anymore.

      You are correct in general, but wrong about this particular case.

      Google Apps is Google's attempt to make money from Corporate America, selling software-as-a-service. Were this ever to work, it might be a very lucrative venture, and finally wean Google off of their single money-making business (ads). It would also mean that Google is competing directly with Microsoft in Microsoft's home turf. So, the reason

  • Sometimes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jaaay ( 1124197 )
    I wonder if big companies awash with cash wouldn't be better off doing stuff themselves instead of paying ridiculous premiums. The other interesting thing is how profitable this company is and if google would've earned more buying 625 million $ of government bonds than whatever they'll make during the next few years of this.

    But this isn't always the case, I remember reading "you idiots" comments after news ltd bought myspace for 300(?) million and then reading a few months later how google was paying 800
    • by mveloso ( 325617 )
      Google is paying for the customer base, not the tech. Getting customers is the hard part, not the engineering.
  • "The acquisition is slated to enhance Google's application portfolio,"

    ... hope they do not become another Jotspot and vanish into thin air.

  • Good News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rydian ( 29123 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @10:57AM (#19800583)
    We've been using Postini for the past few years, and have had great results with it. I just hope the Google interface design team does some work with Postini. Not that the Postini interface is horrible, but it could use more of the polish that Google brings to their apps.
    • Not that the Postini interface is horrible, but it could use more of the polish that Google brings to their apps.

      I wasn't aware that Google outsourced their interface design to Poland...
  • It is hoped that the speed of the jet ski will help it jump the shark really well.
  • Damn Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @11:04AM (#19800679) Journal
    Always buying companies instead of innovating.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @11:13AM (#19800837) Homepage Journal
    We use Postini here and it's really really good. It reliably filters out nearly all the spam that arrives, and it's fairly inexpensive ($1 per mailbox per month). Scaling it to the size of Google will make it even better. I'm looking forward to it.
  • Cash - so a suitcase of dollar/euro/pound notes then?
    • Cash in this context means a bank transaction, as opposed to buying for so many Google shares
      • by ashitaka ( 27544 )
        As was noted in another thread:

        "Any sufficiently advanced sarcasm is indistinguishable from offtopic" (or ignorance in this case)

        Hopefully I'm not giving too much credit to the grandparent.
      • No, I'm pretty sure it's really a suitcase with bills and c-notes. The suitcase probably *does* have a Google logo on it, though. Really. I've seen these things in movies.
  • Postini was bought for an amount roughly 83 times the price AMD paid of Transmeta. That just completely screws with my perceptions of scale regarding the value of companies. And I thought I had a pretty good idea of the number system we use.

    Maybe these companies should just start publishing these numbers in milliards and crores and I would still grasp the value of the transaction about as well...

    • by Horn ( 517263 )
      Perhaps this is because AMD only invested in Transmeta and didn't buy them out?
      • True... I forgot that but even so, the difference in the relative values of the companies seems unworldly... Worse is that it makes logical sense to me economically (Postini on the up, Transmeta down and out for the count), but just the fact that I can't really visualize or internalize it is bothering me. Whatever happened to the days when code was cheap?

  • It's most likely another step towards Google creating their own OS, where all machines are thin-clients and applications are run from a server such as the way Google Apps are at the moment.

    From the article:

    Like Google Apps, Postini's services are entirely hosted, eliminating the need to install any hardware or software.

    Personally I wouldn't go for it, but it makes sound economic sense to a lot of companies. Thin clients are alot cheaper than standard PC's and instead of paying thousands of euro to microsoft for licensing, they can pay a small subscription to Google instead. Maybe they will receive the service free fr

  • This will be greeted with cheers by countless Exchange-Server-In-A-Box admins, who can't configure any sort of spam or content filtering on their side, or by those too frightened by Unix to implement their own relays. "If it has Google goodness, it must be ok - lets just use Postini! (while I make myself less and less relevant)".

    Sorry, bitter today, mopped up after too many bad mail admins.

    PS Find the joke and win the prize!
    • by dave562 ( 969951 )
      As an Exchange-Server-In-A-Box admin, I will take your flamebait and politely tell you to go shove it. It's a lot easier to let a company like Postini take first crack at the incoming emails than to devote resources on my end to dealing with the problem. The issue isn't that I can't configure spam and content filtering, because I can. The issue is that it's more cost effective for my organization (non-profit, ~300 users) to farm it out to a company that does nothing but spam and content filtering. Let P
  • Oh the irony! My company's email service is hosted by Postini and is down this morning.
  • by ashitaka ( 27544 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @12:47PM (#19802157) Homepage
    I started off with Spamassassin+CLAMAV and something else and some Exchange server-based rules but the upkeep was time-intensive and the spam were still coming down our wire.

    Then I got Postini and the world changed. Upkeep was mindless, the product was really cheap per mailbox and a huge portion of the spam was stopped at Postini's servers hugely reducing the load on our Spamwall and Exchange servers. In addition, it also gave us mail spooling for when we had to take the Exchange server down or if our Internet connection went out. Nothing was ever lost.

    This is another case of Google finding an excellent product that fits in with their business direction and will enhance their products, not just a Microsoft-type acquisition intended to stifle competition.

  • A blog [] entry over at the BackChanne breaks down just how many customers Postini had in the enterprise market, the only surprise for me was that Microsoft chose to take-out Frontbridge and not Postini. Whats next? Yahoo buys Messagelabs for 300M? Half the market share of Postini.
    For those of you with click fatigue, the market rankings look like this:
    Postini 49%
    Messagelabs 22%
    Frontbridge 21%
    MXlogic 5%
    Blackspider 0.4%

    • When Postine doesn't need to store for compliace reasons the whole email filtering process never hits a disk - it stays in memory all the way through.

      That's also why the average time between receipt of mail by Postini and your incoming server receiving the header is in the region of 400ms or so, as opposed to, say Messagelabs which is (if I recall correctly) somewhere between 2 and 4 minutes.

      Postini is also the only one who also has a Swiss hosted setup, and it's thus the only one who can filter for Swiss b
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @03:27PM (#19804517)
    First of all, as many have noted, the point of this is not to adapt Postini tools to Gmail. That may happen eventually, but it's not the point. The point is that Postini offers enterprise services that Google never did, and already has a prominent userbase. And if you ask why enterprises don't just switch to Gmail and get the same spam-filtering for free, you don't understand how enterprises work.

    I don't doubt that some of the spam filtering procedure developed by Postini will eventually help filter Gmail. Indeed, it wouldn't make sense in the long run for Google to keep two separate spam filtering platforms. But here's the point: the primary beneficiary of the buyout will be the Postini spam filter itself, the thing that will be sold for subscription fees to enterprises. That product will improve for one simple reason: Access to the incredible amount of data that Google has access to. We all help Google when we're kind enough to press the "mark as spam" button in Gmail. And I'm sure they remember, and our entry sharpens up whatever Bayesian algorithm Google uses to detect future spam. When Google's data merges with Postini's data, it will be very hard for other enterprise spam filtering providers to offer a product of similar effectiveness. To do so, they would need to store their own databases on a scale large enough to compete with Google - which isn't cheap. It is cheap for Google to supply Postini filters with raw data, since Google collect that data anyway. So Postini the pay service gets an incredible competitive advantage though it's intergration with the Googlebrain. That's not to mention the extra mindshare that the Google brand brings with it.

    For those of us who wondered how Google plans to profit from all this investment in a free email service, this is a part of the answer: There will be a for-pay enterprise version based on the same investment. The same goes for Search, btw. So pay attention: this is Google trying to become something more than an ad pusher. And it's not a dumb idea: the marginal cost for Google to develop a good for-pay spam filtering system is small compared to the money they could sell it for.

    And since you can already buy Google computers to search your enterprise for internal data, and those Google computers are heavily based on work Google developed for other goals (and for free access), we might ask the following question: What other things is Google good at, and would enterprises be interested in paying for products based on those skills? Google maps? For sure! But consider Google News, the human-free, smart organizer of articles by subject, relevance and prominence. Are there companies with a lot of data that could benefit from the sort of organization alorithms that run Google News? Damn right! Each year more enterprises are finding that the cheapness of data storage left them with attics of archival data that's a complete mess. I think we're starting to understand the "???" that separated Google's free services and Profit.

Yet magic and hierarchy arise from the same source, and this source has a null pointer.