Microsoft Acquires 22 Companies In One Year

August 28, 2006

Those were the days when innovation was the key differentiator in fuelling growth and sustaining competitiveness. These are the days when competition is cut-throat. But the downside of intense competition is that innovation is no more the key differentiating factor. Rather, enterprises are looking to acquiring new companies, which give them short-cut access to new technologies and thereby creating a presence in that field.

Acquiring new companies seems to be the latest incarnation of the good old make-or-buy question. Call this, make-or-acquire.

Microsoft has been on the forefront in answering this question. It is one thing that the software giant has been struggling to innovate against the small and swifter likes of Google, but it is another thing that Microsoft hopes to counter this by acquiring one company after another. Twenty two, to be more precise.

The latest one being a Website Stat Counting company names DeepMatrix. The Company release says,

DeepMetrix Corporation is pleased to announce that we have recently been acquired by Microsoft Corporation. We are excited about being part of the Microsoft family and the potential it brings to positively impact product feature capability and overall value for our customers.

The following are the list of 22 companies that Microsoft has acquired in the last one year.

VirtualEarth - Vexcel and GeoTango do 3D imaging and remote sensing.

MSN - DeepMetrix (web site stats), Massive (videogame advertising), Onfolio (web research), Teleo (VoIP), Media-Streams (VoIP), MotionBridge (mobile search), TSSX (China mobile services), SeaDragon (Large Image manipulation)

Windows Live - FolderShare (file synch), MessageCast (MSN Alerts)

Speech Server - Unveil Technologies (call center SW)

Security - Alacris (Identity Mgmt), FutureSoft (Web filtering)

Systems Management - AssetMetrix (License tracking)

Business Intelligence - ProClarity (analysis and visualization)

Microsoft Game Studios - Lionhead Studios (games developer)

Exchange Server - FrontBridge (email security)

Microsoft Project - UMT (Portfolio Mgmt)

Storage Server - Stringbean Software (iSCSI SAN)

Vista - Apptimum (Application transfer)

Blind push, or an inability to innovate - whichever way you consider this, acquisition seems one easy way to jump into new technologies. Another reason for this acquisition spree might be to reduce Microsoft's Time-To-Market management of its products, which has been historically pathetic. But then, it appears more of a panic-spree to get into new businesses and increase competitiveness in the existing businesses rather than a well-thought-out strategic acquisition.

It would be hard for any company to scale out to managing so many different companies and business areas in such a short period as one year. Whatever happened to the good old days of innovation.

Kishore is a techie based in Bangalore. When he's not writing software, he spends his time writing himself out trying to understand the perfection of reality. Read his musings over life, nature, music and the art of living at Dayswork.
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Microsoft Acquires 22 Companies In One Year


Author: Kishore


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