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What Companies Does Microsoft Own?
Discover some of Microsoft's most expensive and impactful acquisitions and how they fall under its corporate umbrella.
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5 minute read

Microsoft has become one of the world's most prestigious tech companies, but it didn't get there alone.

The company, cofounded by Bill Gates in 1975, made its first acquisition in 1987 and hasn't slowed down, with approximately 269 deals under its belt to this day.

Microsoft's purchases have helped it grow beyond its origins as a computer software and hardware company and establish itself as a powerful player in the cloud, gaming, communications and augmented reality markets.

Keep reading to discover some of Microsoft's most expensive and impactful acquisitions and how they fall under its corporate umbrella.

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard is Microsoft's most recent and most expensive acquisition. The tech giant kicked off 2022 by shelling out $68.7 billion to buy the video game company in a deal expected to close sometime in 2023. Once part of Microsoft, the unit would fall under Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer's purview and further the company's booming gaming business. Activision Blizzard's intellectual property and talent pool will also be crucial to expanding the company's nascent cloud-based video game streaming platform.

LinkedIn

Microsoft made headlines in 2016 after it paid $26 billion for LinkedIn, the professional social networking platform founded by Reid Hoffman, Konstantin Guericke, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Allen Blue and Eric Ly. The site first launched in 2003 as a place to connect with co-workers and post digital resumes. Nineteen years later, LinkedIn's core platform has over 753 million users and now boasts expanded features, including messaging, jobs and news. When Microsoft bought LinkedIn, it stated that it aimed to integrate the social site with Microsoft's enterprise software suite. Microsoft also announced that the acquisition had allowed Microsoft's sales and distribution organization to reach LinkedIn's massive user base.

GitHub

GitHub is a software development platform that Microsoft shelled out $7.5 billion in stock to buy in 2018. GitHub, which functions as a code repository service, was founded just ten years earlier by Tom Preston-Werner, P. J. Hyett, Scott Chacon and Chris Wanstrath. When the deal closed, Microsoft revealed that it had bought the company to enhance its focus on open-source development. At the time, the company said it aimed to increase enterprise use of GitHub while also bringing its own developer tools and services to new audiences.

Mojang (Minecraft)

In 2014, Microsoft announced that it had reached a $2.5 billion deal to buy Mojang, the Swedish video game company behind Minecraft. The deal was prompted after Mojang's founder, Markus "Notch" Persson, tweeted, "Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig." Since that fateful tweet, Mojang has been rolled into Microsoft's growing gaming division and has expanded Minecraft to include an educational version designed for classrooms. Minecraft is currently considered one of the most successful video games of all time and has over 141 million monthly active users, as of August 2021.

ZeniMax Media

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda, was brought into Microsoft's orbit via a $7.5 billion deal announced in March 2021. Bethesda, which publishes popular titles like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and DOOM, provides Microsoft with a bevy of content for its Xbox consoles and cloud-based streaming service.

Bethesda isn't the only studio Microsoft acquired through the deal. It also gained access to id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog and Roundhouse Studios.

Nuance Communications

In April 2021, Microsoft announced a $19.7 billion deal to buy Nuance Communications, a conversational AI and cloud-based ambient clinical intelligence for healthcare providers. The combination builds on the companies' pre-existing partnership and enhances Microsoft's enterprise cloud services. In its announcement, Microsoft said Nuance’s expertise will help its Azure, Teams, and Dynamics 365 products deliver “next-generation customer engagement and security solutions.” Once the deal is complete, Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin will retain his role and report directly to Microsoft EVP of Cloud & AI Scott Guthrie.

Xandr

Microsoft ended 2021 by buying Xandr from AT&T in a deal valued at around $1 billion. AT&T formed Xandr in 2018 by combining various advertising technology assets and derives its name from company founder Alexander Graham Bell. The deal gave AT&T much-needed cash and provided Microsoft with an advanced advertising technology company that will help enhance Microsoft's digital advertising and retail media capabilities. The Xandr deal is subject to regulatory reviews and could close sometime in late 2022 or 2023.

Skype

Microsoft has owned real-time video and voice communications service Skype since 2011. At the time, the $8.5 billion deal was the company's largest purchase and first significant acquisition since 2008. The purchase promised to provide new opportunities in the real-time video and voice communications market. Over the past decade, Skype's functionalities have been gradually integrated into Microsoft's Xbox and Windows devices. Microsoft has since launched its own enterprise-focused voice and video calling service, called Teams, and discontinued Skype for Business.

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