The inspiration for Microsoft came from a unique place — the cover of a Popular Electronics magazine issue, according to the company’s website. What started as a small idea blossomed into a trillion-dollar company. Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft got its break after sealing a deal that would put its operating system in IBM’s first personal computer.
Future acquisitions gave Microsoft a firmer footing in the tech space. So, which companies does Microsoft own?
Over the years, Microsoft has grown its portfolio considerably. Currently, Microsoft owns a number of successful companies you likely support or purchase products from. So, just how big is Microsoft’s holdings? Here's a breakdown of the companies Microsoft owns.
Microsoft acquired the telecommunications company Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011, integrating the Skype video-chat app into its Xbox and Windows platforms and “deepening the company’s longstanding focus on real-time video and voice communications, and providing new market opportunities serving Skype’s 160-plus million active users,” as Microsoft says.
In September 2014, Microsoft announced it would be acquiring Swedish video game developer Mojang, the maker of the hit video game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion.
“Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement at the time. “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise — it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”
The company bought professional social-networking platform LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal in June 2016, ranking as Microsoft’s priciest-ever acquisition at the time. “This deal is all about bringing together the professional cloud and professional network,” Nadella told The New York Times when the deal was announced.
Microsoft acquired code-repository software GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock in June 2018, at a time when more than 28 million developers were using the GitHub platform.“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub, we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” Nadella said in a statement at the time.
In April 2021, Microsoft announced plans to buy cloud and AI software company Nuance Communications in a deal valued at $19.7 billion, and the European Union approved the purchase in December, per TechCrunch. In a press release, Microsoft said its proposed Nuance acquisition “represents the latest step in Microsoft’s industry-specific cloud strategy.”
In March 2022, Microsoft and Nuance completed the acquisition.
Activision Blizzard (proposed)
Activision Blizzard is the holding company behind the popular video game series Call of Duty, Diablo, StarCraft, Warcraft, and Crash Bandicoot, as well as the hit games Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Candy Crush Saga.
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition is the largest deal in video game history, according to the Times, and if Microsoft makes Activision Blizzard games Xbox-exclusive, it could pull gamers away from Sony’s PlayStation console.
In April 2023, Microsoft hit a roadblock after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal. The CMA says the acquisition of Activision Blizzard "could hit competition in the nascent cloud gaming market," Yahoo reported. Per the media outlet, the CMA operates independently from the government.
Following the decision, Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, said the U.K. regulator's move to block the acquisition "had shaken confidence" in Britain.
CMA's Chief Executive Sarah Cardell explained that "the decision that the CMA takes is an independent decision that we reached looking at an overall assessment of the impact of the deal on competition, and we think that is the right decision for the U.K." She added that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was also looking to block the deal.
Yahoo says Microsoft intends on submitting an appeal.