Microsoft Buys Social Learning Startup Flipgrid To Gain Share In Education Market


Microsoft has acquired social learning startup Flipgrid, the company revealed on Monday.

The acquisition marks the latest push into the education market for Microsoft, which has been going head-to-head with Google and its popular Chromebook product and Google Classroom web-based service in the same arena.

Founded in 2015, the video-based Flipgrid platform is used today across 180 countries by more than 20 million pre-kindergarten to Ph.D.-level educators, students and families, to record and share videos, Microsoft said in a statement.

[Related: Microsoft Deepens Education Investments In Bid To Close The Gap With Google ]

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Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft said Flipgrid can help teachers and students build social, emotional and communication skills beyond traditional curricula. The Redmond, Wash.-based company said that it will make Flipgrid software free for schools, similar to its Office 365 Education software. Customers who already purchased a subscription from Flipgrid will receive a prorated refund.

The two companies originally launched a partnership in 2016, and the platform today integrates with a number of Microsoft products, including Teams and OneNote.

’We’re thrilled to see the impact Flipgrid has had in social learning thus far," said Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president for Microsoft in a statement. ’We’re diligently committed to making sure their platform and products continue to work across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems to benefit students and teachers everywhere.’

On the hardware side, Microsoft launched its education-focused Windows 10 S operating system in 2017 that was designed to help the company to compete with Google's popular Chrome OS and Chromebook devices in K-12 education. Microsoft is also directing its attention to addressing the education market with its software. It's Teams platform, that has more than 20 million users today, has "assignment" features.

Flipgrid will retain its own team and brand, but as a part of Microsoft, the platform will be expanded to more educators and students, according to Microsoft's blog regarding the acquisition. Flipgrid will also align with Microsoft’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)- and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)-compliant privacy architecture.