Microsoft's most expensive purchases

Microsoft is one of the best known names , both in the business world and in the technology sector. Even at street level. Whether through Windows, Office, Outlook, Xbox, Skype, Teams, Azure or LinkedIn, their products and services are well known to the public. Much has happened since its founding, in 1975, by Bill Gates and Steve Allen, accompanied by their first eleven employees . Thirteen if we count them. Today, Microsoft companies, created or acquired, are numbered by the handful. And it is that Microsoft purchases over the years have had a great role in what Microsoft is today.

When the talent is not inside, it is going to look outside. Hiring employees, buying companies or acquiring licenses. From examples, Microsoft has many. Mosaic gave rise to Internet Explorer. Hotmail made what is now Outlook possible. And Skype has served as the foundation and inspiration for one of Microsoft’s most booming products, Microsoft Teams. Who knows what will come of the purchase of Nuance , in April of this year, one of the most important in recent years.

Here is a list of the most expensive Microsoft purchases to date. A list that can change in a short time, if we stick to the official list of acquisitions that Microsoft offers available to shareholders and anyone who wants consult it. So far this year, Microsoft has made seven purchases. And in 2020, he made eight.

LinkedIn (2016)

Photo by inlytics | LinkedIn Analytics Tool at Unsplash

If you are in working age, it is practically impossible that you do not know LinkedIn . For better or for worse, it is a benchmark in the world of work. The social network to find a job, make yourself known and expand your contact list .

Created in 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant, LinkedIn has become the most popular social network in the professional field. In just five years, it already had more than 25 million users. And in 2011 it went public. Being one of the first, today it has around it a whole ecosystem of job portals .

Linkedin is, to date, the most expensive Microsoft company or purchase . $ 26.2 billion. All in all, a purchase more than amortized, since it continues to be a benchmark and has served to integrate some of its services and give them more visibility, if possible, in the business world. Today, it has more than 20,000 employees, has more than 740 million users and an estimated revenue of $ 3 billion.

Nuance (2021)

Wall of Nuance headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts. Source : Nuance

If this list had been made at the beginning of the year, it would not have been in time to include Nuance in this selection of Microsoft companies that cost the most in its history. And is that in recent years, Microsoft has continued to buy companies. Some low profile but some high priced.

Most recent example, April 2021. Microsoft buys Nuance for $ 19.7 billion. In the words of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, the reason for the purchase has to do with the health sector and artificial intelligence.

Interestingly, Nuance has known as a company dedicated to voice transcription and text recognition using OCR . It was founded in a distant 1992, went public in 1999 and in recent years it has specialized in the use of artificial intelligence for voice recognition and response systems applied to the sector Of the health. Another curious aspect of his story is that worked with Apple on the creation of Siri .

Skype (2011)

Skype reception at their Palo Alto headquarters. Source : Architecture Platform

Ten years after its acquisition, Skype has been the second most expensive Microsoft purchase in its long history. This instant messaging app, calls and video calls, cost Microsoft 8,500 million dollars.

Such was their bet that Microsoft decided to end one of its most emblematic products, MSN Messenger , which would later be called Windows Live Messenger . In the summer of 2009, Messenger had 330 million active users. But Microsoft did not shake its hand to shut it down in favor of Skype in 2013.

Skype is still the go-to app for video calls and chat , with integrations in Microsoft online services, such as Outlook or Office. One of Microsoft’s flagship companies. However, with the arrival of Microsoft Teams , Skype has been relegated to the home environment in favor of Teams for the professional domain.

Bethesda (2020)

If so far, the great purchase of 2021 by Microsoft has been Nuance, in 2020, that title takes it ZeniMax or ZeniMax Media . The acquisition figure is $ 7.6 billion. This name may not appeal to you. Actually, behind ZeniMax is Bethesda , the video game company responsible for titles like DOOM, Fallout or The Elder Scrolls.

The reason for the purchase was to enhance its video game area, led by its video game console Xbox (currently in its versions Series X and Series S ). By acquiring Bethesda, Microsoft secures a diverse portfolio of great past and future titles that it can integrate into its subscription service Xbox Game Pass .

As for Bethesda, it was founded in 1986 by Christopher Weaver. Precisely in the city that gives the company its name. In 1999, Bethesda became a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media , created by both Weaver and his partner Robert Altman. Your story deserves an article of its own.

GitHub (2018)

The platform best known by software developers, and open source , was bought by Microsoft in a move that surprised many . The acquisition was for 7.5 billion dollars. And the purpose of the Microsoft purchase, as explained by Satya Nadella: to gain the favor of the developers .

When Microsoft acquired GitHub, it was ten years old. Founded in 2008, this platform was thought to host software projects using Git version control, hence its name. Today it has 31 million users and is one of the most promising Microsoft companies.

Among its latest movements, GitHub has begun to “mess around” with applied artificial intelligence at automatic code completion using the open source artificial intelligence system OpenAI .

Nokia (2014)

Source: Nokia

The one who was the king of mobile phones and one of the few European technology companies that could face the American and Asian giants, ended up in Microsoft hands in a controversial purchase . One of the worst Microsoft companies ended up in their joint journey. Its price, 7.2 billion dollars. The cost for Nokia is that it is about to disappear.

Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia was a serious bid to be in the mobile phone market. It started as an alliance in 2011 and ended with the purchase. Microsoft had the software, Windows Phone , and the hardware part was missing. In a sector where Apple stood out with its iPhone iOS and Google had won the favor of manufacturers with its Android for Samsung, Huawei or LG.

For its part, Nokia was in decline, overtaken by smartphones, so that their phones were no longer among the best sellers, With some exceptions and in emerging markets with proposals for classic mobile phones . From this purchase came the Lumia phones. First Nokia Lumia and then directly Microsoft Lumia.

In 2016, two years later, Microsoft surrendered to the evidence. It was impossible to stop being the third mobile platform behind iOS and Android. Hence sold Nokia to HMD Global for $ 350 million. A purchase that, in reality, was a return, since HMD had been created in Finland precisely to recover Nokia as an independent Finnish company and as a brand . Brand that was about to disappear in the hands of Microsoft.