Insight Bite: Alibaba Invests in Open Source Tech With data Artisans Acquisition

In a move designed to breathe new life into data processing platform Apache Flink, Alibaba have taken control of data Artisans, the Berlin-based firm behind the software.

Alibaba, the ecommerce giant better known as the Amazon.com of China, has been working with data Artisans since 2016, supporting the development of the open source software Apache Flink – a big data processing tool defined by its ability to process streaming data in real time with low data latency and high fault tolerance.

This acquisition is expected to expedite Flink development by putting the full force of Alibaba behind the company, and has been welcomed by founders Kostas Tzoumas and Stephen Ewen:

“At times when many open source technologies and companies decide on a less collaborative and more “closed” approach, it is with great pleasure to see Alibaba committed to open source and our mission, eager to take Flink’s technological advancement to the next level.” wrote the founders in a blog post commenting on the deal.

For Alibaba, the purchase reflects an acquisition strategy that is focused on new technologies. Over the past few years, the e-commerce company has become one of Asia’s biggest dealmakers, expanding aggressively across a number of different sectors, and serving customers in a diverse range of areas including search, cloud computing, media, venture capital, payment networks, and personal assistants.

But in order to retain a competitive edge across all these different business lines, Alibaba needs to stay abreast of the latest technology. So along with buying up competing commerce companies, is using acquisition to capitalise on the latest technological developments.

At $103 million, the, acquisition is a small one, but reflects a long-standing interest in open source software on the part of Alibaba, who in 2017 contributed $27 million in funding to open source database startup MariaDB.

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