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What happened to the services and companies that Microsoft bought

We remember the fate of Skype, Nokia and other companies on the background of the purchase of GitHub.

Getty Photos
Getty Photos

On June 4, Microsoft officially announced the purchase of GitHub, a popular service for code storage and collaborative development. A rare situation – the company even disclosed the amount of the transaction: it amounted to $ 7.5 billion.

Among the developers began to show a note of concern about the future of GitHub, which in fact became the gold standard for storing programs written by them. GitHub allowed to store code free of charge, if the code itself was published in clear form – that is, it respected the principles of open-source. And although there is an opinion that Nat Friedman, who will become the new head of GitHub instead of the outgoing co-founder of the service, Chris Wonstreth, will support the principles of open-source, there is the history of Microsoft, in which there were many cases when the company pressed the open-source community – for example, secretly financed a judicial battle between the software manufacturer SCO and various companies producing Linux devices, for example, IBM, Novell and DaimlerChrysler.

For more than 40 years of history, Microsoft has acquired more than two hundred different companies and services, but often after that their products were criticized for changes not in the best for users side. We remember what happened with Nokia, Skype, LinkedIn, Hotmail and some other companies after the purchase by the corporation.

Early acquisitions

The very first company that Microsoft bought was Forethought. She was developing a program for creating and conducting presentations, which later became known as PowerPoint. Microsoft paid $ 14 million for Forethought.

In 1997, a corporation from Redmond bought the Hotmail mail service for half a billion dollars. At first it was integrated into the MSN services group, and now it is part of Windows Live.

In 2000, Microsoft entered into another largest transaction at the time in its history, buying Visio for 1.3 billion dollars. She developed the same application for creating flowcharts and diagrams. This product still brings Microsoft millions of dollars, but already in the Office suite.

Visio looks like in 2018
Visio looks like in 2018

The next major purchase of Microsoft in 2001 was the company Navision, which was engaged in the development of business accounting systems. It was combined with the Great Plains Software company, which was acquired in the same sphere, under the same name – Microsoft Dynamics. According to Microsoft’s idea, the rapid acquisition of large companies in the sector should lead to leadership in corporate software. For this, the company invested about $ 3 billion, but as a result, the venture failed , and the market was divided by competitors from Salesforce and Oracle.

In 2007, Microsoft closed the deal to buy the advertising company aQuantive for a record at that time 6.3 billion dollars. Before the purchase, the company ranked 14th among advertising agencies around the world and owned several subsidiaries in the field of digital advertising. With the help of aQuantive, Microsoft wanted to compete with Google in the online advertising market, but miscalculated and after a few years wrote off about 6.2 billion dollars in damages – almost the entire cost of the deal.


In 2011, Microsoft bought a video call service Skype for $ 8.5 billion, once again setting a record for the size of the transaction. At the time of purchase, the company was a monopolist in its field: if you had to call someone via the Internet, Skype was used for this.

Skype interface in 2013 before the first redesign
Skype interface in 2013 before the first redesign
It is believed that the purchase of Microsoft adversely affected the service: the corporation began to integrate it into its platforms, including Xbox and Live Messenger, and also released separate clients for Windows 8 in addition to existing ones. In Skype, there was an obsession, and because of Windows Live, users’ nicknames changed automatically, causing problems with finding contacts.

In 2014, Microsoft conducted the first major redesign of the service: group chat became free, the text message interface was changed and the Bing search engine was added to the context menu.

Skype interface in 2014 after the redesign
Skype interface in 2014 after the redesign

In 2017, Microsoft conducted another redesign of Skype, turning it into an instant messenger with “stories.” The interface was reworked, this time dramatically, adding bright elements and an emphasis on instant messaging. So far, the update has affected only mobile applications, but soon can come in desktop versions.

Despite criticism from users and the community, after buying Microsoft, the messenger continued to grow steadily, reaching 50 million simultaneous users by 2013 and two billion dollars in sales . In recent years, service has becomeone of the main standards of corporate communication.

Preview test of the desktop version of Skype in a new design
Preview test of the desktop version of Skype in a new design

In 2013, Microsoft bought a mobile unit Nokia for 5.4 billion euros. The corporation received the right to use the patents and brands of the Finnish company. In the state of Microsoft passed 32 thousand employees of Nokia.

Microsoft Lumia 950 on Windows Phone. Photos CNet
Microsoft Lumia 950 on Windows Phone. Photos CNet
In the press, this deal is still considered almost the worst in the history of IT-business. In pursuit of Apple and Google in Microsoft decided to produce smartphones on their own and promote their own platform Windows Phone. However, it was never able to win popularity among users: by early 2017 the system was installed only on 0.1% of all phones in the world.

Experts stated the death of Windows Phone, and Microsoft refused to continue its support. In 2016, an American company sold mobile business to a Chinese “daughter” Foxconn for $ 350 million.

At the same time, Nokia returned the right to release smartphones under its own brand, agreed with the Chinese HMD-Global and in early 2017 introduced thedevice on Android. Microsoft received a loss almost for the entire amount of the transaction and does not plan to return to the mobile business.

Nokia 6 - the first smartphone of the Finnish company after the sale of mobile business Microsoft
Nokia 6 – the first smartphone of the Finnish company after the sale of mobile business Microsoft

With the arrival of Microsoft CEO Sathya Nadella in 2014, the company’s policy towards the acquired services has changed to a softer. Developer Minecraft, a popular game in the genre of “sandbox”, the corporation acquired for 2.5 billion dollars. All the founders of the Mojang game studio left it immediately after the acquisition, but promised the fans that with the game “everything will be fine.”

Since then, the game was constantly adding new content and modes. In addition, the company began to develop the franchise, selling the rights to film the film on Minecraft, and released the game on many other platforms, where it had not previously been presented.


In 2014, Microsoft also bought a service for testing and distribution of mobile applications HockeyApp. The amount of the transaction remained unknown.

HockeyApp in 2018
HockeyApp in 2018
Microsoft integrated the service in the Visual Studio App Center. Contrary to critics’ opinion, HockeyApp remained cross-platform and still works with iOS, macOS, Android and Windows.

Beam / Mixer

In August 2016, Microsoft bought a service for streaming and joint game Beam. He was able to transfer control of the broadcast to players at certain times. At the time of purchase, the company managed only to launch public testing.

A year after the purchase, the service was restarted with the name Mixer, integrated into the Xbox and Windows ecosystem, and added several new features: for example, group streaming with four hosts simultaneously. The renaming was explained by problems with naming during the global launch, and the Beam team completely switched to Microsoft. Since 2017 there has been no news about the fate of the service.


The largest transaction of Microsoft to this day is the acquisition of LinkedIn for 26.2 billion dollars in 2016. Satya Nadella explained that this acquisition will help the company strengthen its position in the market of corporate CRM-systems. Microsoft decided to integrate LinkedIn with its other services, such as Microsoft Office.

LinkedIn in 2018
LinkedIn in 2018

At the end of 2016 the company expanded the staff by 200 people. Nadella promised the company almost complete autonomy, and the general director of LinkedIn retained his post. Two years after the purchase of Microsoft service has not changed.

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