Microsoft Corp. has revealed that it is buying professional networking service site LinkedIn for about $26.2 billion, which has more than 430 million members who mostly network with professionals, upload their resumes and search for jobs on the site. Microsoft has been buying companies regularly over the years and among them are Skype (2011), aQuantive (2007), Fast Search & Transfer (2008), Navision (2002), Visio (2000), Yammer (2012), Nokia (2013) and Mojang (2014).
The LinkedIn buy is the largest acquisition by Microsoft and puts in shade both Nokia, Skype and even Yammer takeovers. Not only that, this takeover is the biggest entry by the IT behemoth into social media, bigger than even its acquisition of Yammer for $1.2 bn in 2012. Indian origin Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella scripted the story of LinkedIn’s takeover. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who is a controlling shareholder, has said that he supports the transaction. Here we take a look at some of these and other more recent acquisitions:
Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone business for as much as $7.2 billion in September 2013. This was the company’s foray into mobile devices. However, Nokia had linked its fate as many as 2 years before that to the Bill Gates founded company’s Windows Phone software. The Finnish phone maker, which had once dominated the global market was gradually collapsing under onslaught by Apple and Samsung. Microsoft had emerged as its top suitor then.
Microsoft bought another famed corporate Skype for $8.5 bn in in 2011, which was within days of reports emerging that Google and Facebook were interested in partnering VoIP company Skype. Microsoft thereafter announced that it was buying the company for $8.56 billion in cash. A year before that Skype was reported to have had revenues of $860 million on which it posted an operating profit of $264 million, but still managed to make an overall loss of $7 million. The company was also debt-ridden to the tune of almost $700 million.
Microsoft famously inked its largest acquisition then by acquiring Hotmail.com for $500 million from India-born Sabeer Bhatia in December, 1997.
Also, famously, way back in 1997, Microsoft had invested millions of dollars in then Steve Jobs led company Apple Inc. This caused magazines like Wired to print titles like ‘Apple rescued – by Microsoft’. The $150 mn investment, all cash, allowed Apple Inc to claw itself back from the brink of bankruptcy and turn into the world’s most valuable company, surpassing even Microsoft. This was in return for non-votable shares. While Microsoft has bought hundreds of companies outright, it has invested in stakes of many more over the years.
Microsoft bought British keyboard apps firm SwiftKey in a deal that was worth $250 mn with the aim of developing the company’s Android and iOS keyboard apps. In a blogpost, Microsoft had revealed that SwiftKey’s software was installed on more than 300 mn Android and iOS devices.
Microsoft bought Internet-of-Things company Solair in May, 2016 – a move to expand its global Internet of Things business. The company focuses on connecting up business customers, including “manufacturing, retail, food & beverage and transportation, according to Microsoft said. The deal is “an important part of [Microsoft’s] ongoing efforts to build the intelligent cloud,” a spokesperson said.
In February, 2016, Microsoft had revealed that it is buying Xamarin, which is a mobile software development specialist. The news was broken by Microsoft executive vice president Scott Guthrie in a blog post.
While various companies have been regularly swallowed by Microsoft, it is not chary of branching out as was clear when it announced that it is buying 10 million molecules of custom DNA from San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience, in April, 2016. Microsoft bought 10 million strands of long oligonucleotides – laboratory-made molecules of DNA and use them as a way to store massive amounts of data. Unlike hard drives, Blu-Ray discs DNA reportedly stays intact and readable for as long as 1,000 to 10,000 years.
Microsoft bought Ray Ozzie’s Talko in December, 2015. Boston-based startup Talko helps workgroups collaborate using their smartphones.
Microsoft bought Ubuntu Linux on Azure hybrid cloud in January, 2016. Debian, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and Ubuntu are all supported on Azure. Now, Microsoft added Ubuntu to its customized private and hybrid cloud bundle.
Check out the entire list here.