Phone Giants On The Prowl

Europe's titans are devouring U.S. high-tech startups

Like scores of other European executives, Siemens' Thomas Rambold spent much of this winter tramping through the U.S. hunting for high-tech startups. On Mar. 8, he laid out $550 million for two New England Internet-technology companies. The same day, he named an ex-IBMer, Martin C. Clague, to run what promises to be a growing stable of American acquisitions. Siemens might once have summoned Clague to its Munich headquarters, reaching agreement as waiters poured fine wines. But Rambold wooed Clague over coffee in a nothing-special restaurant outside Boston. "They were persistent," says the 56-year-old Clague. "In this business, you have to move fast."

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