I found a great article on CNET that talks about Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Nokia’s phone unit as well as the companies acquisitions over the years. Just this month, Microsoft spent $7.2 billion in an effort to reshape and make more of a dent in the smartphone market with Nokia’s devices and services unit.
Over the years, Microsoft has acquired numerous companies that have been hit or miss. Back in 2000, Microsoft acquired Visio, a diagramming and vector graphics application that is included under the Microsofts Office umbrella. The software can also be purchased separately and accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
In 2002, Microsoft acquired Navision for $1.45 billion. The software failed to gain steam and couldn’t keep up with its competitors in SAP, Salesforce and Oracle. This was a miss.
Later in 2002, Microsoft purchased UK game developer RARE, which made hits such as Battletoads, Golden Eye 007 and Donkey Kong Country. Legacy games followed but failed to move units causing RARE to go quietly into the dark. It wasn’t until 2010 when Microsoft released the Kinect motion controller that RARE became repurposed to focus on this aspect.
Perhaps the biggest miss was the acquisition of aQuantive, an online advertising business purchased for $6.3 billion in 2007. This was Microsofts attempt at competing with Google. Microsoft simply spent too much money on trying to compete with an online advertising business when they should have been putting money into elaborating on the effectiveness of the search function. Years later, Microsoft has now tried to make their own form of search with Bing, but it’s playing a considerable amount of catch up. Google clearly holds the top spot as the most popular search engine.
One of the biggest hits for Microsoft has been the acquisition of Skype. Skype is now integrated in Microsoft’s XBOX platform and is all over smart phones as applications. Skype’s market share for international calls has increased form 13% to 34%. The amount of users has grown from 27 million to over 50 million since it was purchased.