aQuantive may be Microsoft’s biggest acquisition failure. Have there been good ones? A look back.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Nicola:

    I’d say Microsoft’s first ever acquisition – a company by the name of Forethought in June 1987 – was its lucky start. This was mainly due to Forethought’s newly-developed presentation program at the time of acquisition going on to become Microsoft PowerPoint, which was widely used in all homes, offices, schools and businesses from then until today, so well worth the $14 million Microsoft paid for it…

  2. Craig:

    While not an acquisition as such, Microsoft invested in both Apple and Facebook. Apple is particularly good, Facebook wait and see.

  3. Tom:

    In five years, we’ll be seeing similar headlines about Skype. It’s sort of like a cross between aQuantive and Groove combined. It’s like aQuantive in that there’s just no way that the financials can ever work out. The more successful Skype is at transforming telephony, the less money it makes as it becomes unable to sell minutes. It’s like Groove in that the codebase is liable to fall apart (though for different reasons). Skype is written in Delphi (!), using a lot of code obfuscation techniques (!), as befitting the Estonian hackers who came fresh off Kazaa, the P2P file sharing network (!).

    Business school professors have demonstrated that 2/3 of acquisitions *destroy* value rather than create value. In Microsoft’s case, it just so happens that its most expensive acquisitions fall into this 2/3.

  4. Chui:

    +1 Mark Russinovich – I don’t know how much he contributed to MinWin, but it is the basis of Windows running on Windows Phone 8.