Microsoft mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and JV (update)


This is an update to a blog entry I made back in April. 

Update#2.  I added a few of the early 11/05 acquisitions

Update#3.  Anything between 11/05 & early 2/06 is now on the list.

Update#4.  3/06 added

As a Microsoft shareholder I have tried to keep an active list of at least acquistions and mergers (don’t ask me why, I know it is kind of strange) but it has only been the last few years.  Sometimes it is software or intellectual property that they are after but in many cases it is also the people.  Code really is no good unless you have the developers and visionaries behind it.  Sometimes Microsoft publishes works before they buy them.  They sold Microsoft Flight Simulator for years before they bought BAO.  They worked with Great Plains on the product "Microsoft Profit" eight years before they bought the company.  Outside of games there are been things like the COBOL compiler that they basically licensed from MicroFocus.  There of course have also been failed mergers like Intuit.  Microsoft has a list of investments and mergers but it is not even complete as this list. (I do not list investments below).  Making a list of joint ventures might be kind of interesting also.  MSNBC, Transpoint, and the consulting deal with Anderson are the only three I can think of without doing any research.  Without doing any research I will just new JV as they have news releases about them.  Post your comments on if these have been failures or sucesses.  My big thought is the jury is still really out on anything dealing with MBS even with the recent re-org in MSFT with everything in IW/Office.  Also what is missing?  I bet there are many divestitures, likely in MBS, that are not on this list.

  • Onfolio Inc. in 2006.  Technology integrated into the Windows Live toolbar to collect data online.
  • Apptimum Inc. in 2006.  Technology to transfer customers applications to new computers to be use in Vista.
  • WinTarget tech in 2006.  From String Bean Software the Windows server team acquired the WinTarget technology for iSCSI storage area networking solutions.
  • MotionBridge SA in 2006.  Moblie search to be added to MSN search.
  • FutureSoft in 2006.  DynaComm i:filter for helping with Web server accesss management.  It has rich integration with the Microsoft ISA server product.
  • GeoTango Inc. in 2005.  Mapping and local search framework that will be merged with the MSN team’s work.
  • UMT in 2005.  IP and software for portfolio management that complements the Microsoft Project Server product.
  • FolderShare service from ByteTaxi Inc. in 2005.  File sync and remote access technology to be used by MSN team as part of Windows Live (and I bet in their messenger product).
  • AG in 2005.  VoIP technology, IP, and people.  This will be used in the Office RTC platform and in Office Live Communication Server.
  • Unveil Technologies in 2005.  IP and people working on the Adaptive Learning & Conversation Assit components of their Conversation suite to be put in future versions of the MSFT Speach Server.
  • Alacris Inc. in 2005. Smartcard tech to be used in security and Windows deployement.
  • Teleo Inc. in 2005.  VoIP software most likely to be used in MSN Messenger or Live Comunicator.
  • Frontbridge Technologies Inc. in 2005.  Managed services that help address corporate e-mail compliance, security and availability requirements that will part of the Exchange group.
  • Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL)/TSSX in 2005.  JV in China that launches MSN China.
  • Groove Networks Inc. in 2005.  The IW group will most likely integrate this with the Office System.
  • Sybari Software Inc. in 2005.  Virus scanning software mostly for email most likely to be integrated into Exchange server.
  • Sells Xbox sports games to Ubisoft Entertainment SA in 2005.
  • Sells to Washington Post in 2004.
  • GIANT Company in 2004.  AntiSpyware already in beta.
  • Sells Xbox indie games studio to Take Two in 2004. (Effectively selling Access software acquired in 1999.)
  • Lookout software LLC in 2004.  Cool search tool for Outlook but I believe this search technology is being used in their MSN group for their desktop search.
  • ActiveViews Inc in 2004.  A small business intelligence platform company.
  • Encore Business Solutions in 2004.  Software that works with MBS GreatPlains.
  • Divested PWA Group (Empower software) – part of MBS to Northgate Information Solutions in 2003.
  • Creature House (graphics software for games) in 2003.  This became part of the Acrylic aka "Microsoft Expression" product in their Tools group.
  • Placeware in 2003.  Re-branded as Live Meeting.
  • Connectix in 2003.  Virtual PC and Server are their products.
  • GeCaD in 2003.  Romania antivirus company.
  • Vicinity in 2002.  Mapping software used by the MapPoint team.
  • Rare in 2002.  Great games for the Xbox.
  • XDegrees in 2002.
  • Navision in 2002.  MBS software, bigger in Europe than US.
  • Pelican Security in 2002.  Behavioral blocking software.
  • Liquid Audio in 2002.  Patent purchase.
  • Rulespace in 2002.  Parent web filtering used in MSN.
  • Maximal in 2001.  Max3 became Microsoft Data Analyzer, a business intelligence product from the Office group.
  • Ensemble Studios in 2001.  Makers of Age of Empires and other games.
  • NCompass Labs in 2001.  Went on to make Content Management Server.
  • Sells Expedia to USA Networks in 2001.
  • Design Intelligence in 2001.  Brought back employee #1.  I think they used some of this tech in Avalon.
  • Great Plains Software in 2000.  Cornerstone of MBS.
  • Digital Anvil in 2000.  A gaming studio.
  • WebAppoint in 2000.
  • Pacific Microsonics Inc. in 2000.  HDCD audio tech.
  • MongoMusic in 2000. Used in MSN music and media player.
  • NetGames USA in 2000.  Used in the
  • Bungie studios in 2000.  The makers of Halo.
  • in 2000.  Used in
  • Peach Networks in 2000.  Technology for enhanced TV services for digital television.
  • Entropic Inc. in 1999.  Speech recognition software and toolkits.
  • Sells brand name to CitySearch in 1999.
  • Softway Systems in 1999.  Interix products for interoperability between UNIX and NT.
  • Visio Corp. in 1999.
  • STNC Ltd in 1999.  Cell phone software in Europe.
  • Zoomit Corp. in 1999.  Meta-directory solution provider for Active Directory.
  • Sendit AB in 1999.  Internet Cellular Smart Access (ICSA) server that integrates with Back Office.
  • OmniBrowse Inc. in 1999.  Apps for wireless handheld devices.
  • ShadowFactor Software Inc. in 1999.  BattleCom tech for real time voice in games.
  • Jump Networks Inc. in 1999.  Web-based calendar services.
  • Access Software in 1999.  The makers of Links – the golf game.
  • CompareNet Inc. in 1999.  Comparison-shopping service merged into
  • FASA Interactive in 1999.  MechWarrior games.
  • LinkExchange Inc. in 1998.  Webpage advertising.
  • Valence Research in 1998.  TCP/IP load-balancing and fault tolerance software.  Also clustering.
  • Sells Softimage to Avid in 1998.
  • The MESA group in 1998.  Migration tools from Lotus Notes to Exchange server.
  • Firefly Network Inc in 1998.  Exchange of private info over net protocols.
  • Flash Communications in 1998.  Instant messaging in Exchange server.
  • Hotmail in 1998.
  • VXtreme Inc. in 1997.  Streaming media solutions.
  • LinkAge Software in 1997.  E-mail connectivity & directory synchronization software.
  • Coopers & Peters Inc. in 1997.  OO user-interface framework tech in AFC.
  • Dimension X in 1997.  Java multimedia for DirectX.
  • WebTV Networks in 1997.
  • Interse in 1997.  Website analysis software used in Back Office.
  • NetCarta in 1996.  WebMapper website management tool used in Back Office.
  • ResNova Software in 1996.  IE software for the Mac.
  • Panorama Software in 1996 (technology not the whole company).  OLAP server for SQL.
  • Electric Gravity Inc in 1996.  Internet gaming zone.
  • eShop Inc in 1996.  Internet commerce server tech.
  • EXOS Inc in 1996.  Force feedback technology for joysticks.
  • aha! software in 1996.  Ink note-taking & editing software.
  • Colusa Software Inc. in 1996.  Omniware product used in coding for the net.
  • Aspect Software engineering in 1996.  dbWeb product for web servers and ODBC.
  • Vermeer Technologies Inc. in 1996.  The makers of FrontPage.
  • Bruce Artwick Organization in 1995.  The makers of Flight Simulator.
  • Interoperability Technology, Expertise from Netwise Inc in 1995.
  • Blue Ribbon Soundworks in 1995.
  • Dare to Dream Intertainment in 1995.  Actimates product line.
  • SNMP Technology From Network Managers in 1995.
  • RenderMorphics Ltd. in 1995.
  • One Tree Software in 1994.
  • NextBase in 1994.
  • Altamira in 1994.  Tech used in image editing applications.
  • Softimage became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1994.  Video graphics like the dinosaurs in the movie Jurasic Park — very high end.
  • Fox Software merges in 1992.  FoxPro database products.
  • SoftDesign in late 1989 or 1990.  This became Project.
  • Forethought Inc. in 1987.  The makers of PowerPoint.

About Aaron Bregel

Just trying to get by
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