While most of the world’s economy continued to vacillate between slow growth and brink of recession during 2012, the technology sector seemed not to notice, as money flowed like wine for acquisitions and growth.

Unlike past years, though, when infrastructure deals commanded major dollars, 2012 was led by social media. (One area of infrastructure that DID see investment was in the cloud, in building out the clouds themselves, and storage solutions to hold all that cloudy stuff.)

Despite Facebook’s IPO flop (it fell from an opening price of US$43 per share into the teens before rallying back to near $30 by year’s end), the company did manage to find $741 million amid the rubble to buy image service Instagram.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also spent on social computing, shelling out $1.2 billion for social networking software Yammer. It then spent the better part of the second half of 2012 laying out its vision for putting Yammer into all its software and redefining how people will work.

Google, which surpassed Microsoft for second place in market capitalization among technology companies (but remains behind Apple), made $300 million in investments in 2012 through its Google Ventures arm, with 32% of its investments going into mobile, and 31% going into the consumer Internet. And, notably, Google acquired social marketing software provider Wildfire for $350 million.

In the mobile space, API management company Apigee paid an undisclosed sum for mobile app-payment processing technology from the Wholesale Applications Community, a mobile software development organization.

About David Rubinstein

David Rubinstein is editor-in-chief of SD Times.