$8.5 billion was a lot of money for Skype, especially as you could argue that Microsoft already had technology that was as good as, if not better than, the VoIP start-up. In fact, it’s the biggest acquisition ever made by Microsoft. But it is not without precedent.
website has put together a list of Microsoft’s 15 previous biggest acquisitions, most of which did not exactly turn out as expected…
Going back to 1997 and the pioneering days of the world wide web, Microsoft paid $425 million to acquire WebTV, rebranded it as MSN TV, and then watched it wither and die. Ahead of its time, you could argue in its defence. It fared better a year later though when it spend a similar amount on Hotmail, although that now is coming to the end of its useful life, despite a recent make-over.
Microsoft upped the ante in 2000 during bubble-mania and bought Great Plains for $940 million, which it turned into Microsoft Business Solutions. That turned out fine, but the $500 million for mobile software company Danger (remember the Sidekick?) in 2008 was a disaster, with Microsoft running two separate teams developing two separate approaches to mobile handsets.
The closest comparison to Skype in terms of cash paid was in 2007 when Microsoft bought an advertising software and services company that tried to rival the successful and pioneering DoubleClick. It spent $6 billion on the company that time forgot. Anybody remember aQuantive? No?
What fate Skype?
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