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Is Google crazy for its buying spree?

Google has been on an acquisitions spree, some of which are non-revenue companies with no clear and cohesive strategy, causing some investors to wonder if this is an ultimate sign of a bubble.

With over 20 acquisitions in the last 15 months, the determination whether or not Google is investing wisely is an important one for investors. In the end, share prices are a reflection of future earnings as well as the wise allocation of capital. Companies that make unwise purchases (such as Zynga's $180 million investment in Draw Something) understandably cause concern for investors.

An attendee uses a computer to sign in for the Google I/O developers conference on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
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An attendee uses a computer to sign in for the Google I/O developers conference on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Growth companies like Google seek to increase profitability and market share in the long term through innovation. A Silicon Valley executive recently told me that he thinks technology companies like Google must do all they can to aggressively innovate including acquiring other companies that will help in that goal. He cited the recently acquired Nest (a smart device in the energy space) as an indication of a grander scheme to have influence across a wide variety of industries. "Google is looking to be everywhere consumers are," he said.

It strikes me as wise that Google is using its currency to invest in areas that might potentially lead to an expansion of their influence and market penetration.

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Google's investment in Android has been brilliant and positioned them wisely in the mobile space. When the investment was made years ago, many questioned its wisdom. Now it's obvious to everyone that it was a visionary move that is paying benefits today.

Their investment in Motorola seems less wise, though they are recouping much of their investment by selling off pieces of the company (perhaps the legal team believes that the patents purchased will justify the price paid).

Nest makes sense as Google now has a foothold in the energy-conservation business that will likely be a growth engine for the U.S. economy in the long-term.

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It's a batting-average game and the Android purchase has overwhelmed the Motorola fiasco. Net result? A win for Google.

Even Apple, roundly criticized for holding on to its cash reserves, recognizes that integrating innovation from outside companies makes sense. Apple is active in acquisitions (though more conservative in spending its cash).

Technology is a disruptive industry designed to create new efficiencies. The competitive environment is fierce and innovation is key. Today's hero can be yesterday's also-ran (remember Netscape?).

What matters for investors to recognize is that technology companies cannot simply rely on the status quo and must continually attempt to push the boundaries of their corporate influence.

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So don't believe technology companies are automatically idiots and fools for investing in other companies. Decisive leadership requires moving towards new technologies and new markets in order to stay relevant. Judge the wisdom of the chosen companies but do not think for a moment that allocating capital should always focus on current returns for shareholders. A short-term view doesn't work in life and certainly won't work in today's ferocious technology-business climate.

Commentary by Michael A. Yoshikami, the CEO and founder of Destination Wealth Management in Walnut Creek, California. He is also a CNBC contributor.

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