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Watch for real estate brokers, franchisors to join tech buying spree

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Om Malik recently wrote about companies that aren't necessarily associated with technology buying up other companies that were. For example, Avis purchasing ZipCar and Athena Health buying Epocrates. The thrust of his piece is that digital technologies are becoming the norm. Possessing digital capabilities isn't just for hot new startup whatevers. It's becoming table stakes. How might this sort of trend play out in the real estate industry? When you think about it, it might seem surprising that more straight-ahead technology acquisitions haven't happened at the brokerage or franchise level. The real estate industry must be more lucrative than the car rental business, right? Of course, there are really only a few national players in car rentals, and the small, local shops are just fighting for scraps. Perhaps in real estate, the busines is divided among so many different players that none of them can afford to acquire companies with interesting and useful technologies. So maybe it's a m...