Image via WikipediaApple and Microsoft were born around the same time. They were not at peace. Netscape came along. Microsoft killed Netscape. Google offered to sell itself to Yahoo. Yahoo refused. A few years later Bill Gates offered to buy Google "at any price." Google refused. Google tried to buy or bury Facebook. Facebook survived. Facebook tried to buy Twitter. Twitter refused. So Facebook hunkered down and "learned" as much as possible from Twitter. Facebook has tried to buy FourSquare, more recently it has tried to bury it.
See, there is that buzz factor. The company that had the crown seat in the buzz kingdom until recently is able to spot the next taker and gets uncomfortable.
Notice how YouTube was never the next big thing. And so it got bought. The jury is still out on GroupOn. For a company to so forcefully occupy the most sizzling space in web tech today, GroupOn perhaps was not the next big thing. And so it got bought.
GroupOn has been more YouTube than Facebook. The proof is in the pudding.
Mashable: Google May Acquire Groupon for $6 Billion, and It Would Be Worth Every Penny
VentureBeat: Report: Google offered $5.3B for daily deal site Groupon
Times Of India: Google nears deal to buy Groupon for $6 bn: NY Times
Huffington Post: Google May Be Near Its Largest Acquisition Yet: Groupon