Microsoft will acquire 20 companies a year

Microsoft will acquire 20 companies a year

Oct. 19, 2007 

Ballmer said today that Microsoft will acquire 20 companies a year for
the next 5 years ranging from $50 Million to $1 Billion. In fact,
Microsoft has been very active on the acquisition front for the past several years. Wikipedia keeps a fairly accurate and up to date list of Microsoft acquisitions.

Dealspending07 Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post Intelligencer
put together this graph of recent acquisitions. Note that both the
number of deals and dollar value is going up. In fact, this year will
mark the first time in Microsoft’s history where more was spent on
acquisitions than on internal R&D. Of course, one acquisition, aQuantive, accounts for about $6 Billion of the total acquisition spend. The aQuantive deal is not included in the chart above.

Venture Beat
reported that Microsoft has only acquired 4 companies this year. The
numbers vary by fiscal year and calendar year. Just for the record it
is currently 13 companies this calendar year and there is still a lot
of time left. Here is a list from Wikipedia of the 13 companies;

  • October 2007 – Online discount shopping site.
  • Parlano August 2007 – maker of MindAlign – enterprise group chat
  • AdEcn July 2007 – Advertising Exchange Platform
  • Stratature June 2007 – Unified Master Data Management Solution
  • Dundas June 2007 – Charting controls for SQL Server
  • Engyro June 2007 – Interoperability software for Systems Center
  • aQuantive, Inc May 2007 – Advertising network and agency
  • SoftArtisans OfficeWriter May 2007 -Reporting authoring in Microsoft Office. People and technology acquisition, but not the whole company. 
  • ScreenTonic SA, May 2007 – Mobile advertising solutions
  • devBiz Business Solutions, March 2007 Web interface for Microsoft Team Foundation Server
  • Tellme Networks, Inc., March 2007 – Voice recognition, IVR services
  • Medstory, Inc, February 2007 – Health care search technology
  • Secured Dimensions, January 2007 – Secured Software Provisioning
  • Steve mentioned that the sweet spot
    for acquisitions is around $100 million, but Microsoft will acquire
    small companies of 5 or 10 people, all the way up to huge acquisitions
    of thousands of people and billions of dollars. Take a look at the list
    above…it is hard to generalize in terms of size, technology, or
    dollar vlaue.

    Steve also mentioned that Microsoft
    will make acquisitions of "open source" based companies or products
    built with Java. Microsoft will not let technology decisions get in the
    way of acquisitions that make sense.

    Another example of Microsoft’s willingness to work with companies not wed to the Microsoft platform is the recent partnership announcements with Atlassian and Newsgator.

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