Buying Power: 12 Notable Microsoft Acquisitions

A New Home For Nokia

Microsoft Monday revealed its plan to acquire Nokia's mobile business in a deal valued at $7.2 billion. The acquisition, Microsoft hopes, will ramp up the company's relevance in the mobile device market and give it an edge over competitors Apple and Samsung. Nokia is one of a slew of acquisitions Microsoft has finalized since 2011. The acquisition lineup points to Microsoft's commitment to cloud computing, social media, advancing its Xbox gaming console and Xbox Live capabilities, as well as its move toward hardware, especially in the mobile device market. Following are 12 deals the software giant has closed since May 2011.

Skype: May 10, 2011

In its largest acquisition, Microsoft bought popular VoIP services company Skype for $8.5 billion. With the acquisition came scrutiny that Microsoft had paid too much for a company that reported a revenue loss the previous year. In a press release, Microsoft said, "Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities." Since the acquisition, Microsoft has not released revenue lost or gained by Skype, but a February 2013 Bloomberg report said the Skype unit "including Lync software for corporate instant messaging and Internet calling is approaching $2 billion in annual sales."

Prodiance: June 7, 2011

Microsoft acquired Prodiance, an enterprise risk management software company and former partner, to enable "deeper integration of compliance-related solutions into future versions of Office and SharePoint," according to a Microsoft Office blog post. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

VideoSurf: Nov. 22, 2011

Microsoft acquired VideoSurf for an undisclosed amount and integrated the company into its Xbox 360 and Xbox Live ecosystem, according to a Microsoft press release. The addition of VideoSurf was the precursor to Microsoft's further expansion into television and entertainment that would later add almost 40 TV and entertainment providers to Xbox Live. VideoSurf, now a part of Microsoft's search engine, Bing, specializes in delivering relevant video content from across the Web according to users' searches.

Yammer: June 25, 2012

In a $1.2 billion deal, Microsoft acquired Yammer, an enterprise social network company, adding the company to its Microsoft Office division. At the time of the acquisition, Yammer had 5 million corporate users; today Yammer has more than 8 million corporate users, according to its website. Yammer is a social platform that allows companies to engage and collaborate in a secure environment. Yammer also allows users to stay connected to their corporate networks through iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. Once the acquisition was made, Microsoft promised to maintain Yammer as a stand-alone service, but also pledged to "accelerate Yammer's adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype," according to a press release.

Perceptive Pixel: July 9, 2012

In a move intended to propel Microsoft into the hardware device world, Microsoft acquired Perceptive Pixel, a multitouch display vendor. The acquisition was complete prior to Microsoft's release of Windows 8, the operating system that has since struggled to find widespread adoption. Shortly after the acquisition, Microsoft released its first Surface Tablet, the product the company hoped would compete for a slice of the tablet market. Microsoft's tablets have yet to gain much traction.

PhoneFactor: Oct. 4, 2012

Microsoft acquired PhoneFactor, a multifactor authentication solution, to "bring effective and easy-to-use multifactor authentication to our cloud services and on-premises applications," said Bharat Shah, corporate vice president, Server and Tools Division for Microsoft, in a statement. "PhoneFactor's solutions will help Microsoft customers, partners and developers enhance the security of almost any authentication scenario," according to the statement.

MarketingPilot: Oct. 15, 2012

Marketing automation solution company MarketingPilot was acquired by Microsoft almost a year ago in an attempt to bridge the gap between customers' marketing and sales departments. MarketingPilot spans the marketing spectrum from digital and social channels but also includes television, radio and more traditional campaigns. This acquisition gave Microsoft more capabilities to reach customers online and through social media outlets, a goal that would be further solidified in future social-media-related acquisitions.

StorSimple: Oct. 16, 2012

Microsoft bought hybrid cloud developer StorSimple to advance its move into cloud storage. StorSimple combines "data management functions of primary storage, backup, archive and disaster recovery with cloud integration," according to a press release. The acquisition was meant to boost Microsoft as a competitor against an assortment of cloud storage platforms.

R2 Studios: Dec. 28, 2012

An investment in Xbox Live, Microsoft acquired R2 Studios, a home entertainment technology developer, at the end of 2012. The acquisition further solidified Microsoft's focus on expanding its ability to deliver digital content, television and videos to consumers through its gaming console.

MetricsHub: March 4, 2013

Cloud monitoring company MetricsHub joined the Microsoft family only months ago, bringing to the software company the capability to offer customers a way to manage cloud services at a lower cost. MetricsHub is intended to "ensure customers are only paying for what they need and maximizing the services they're using" through the company's solution to automatically calculate relevant data points, according to a Microsoft press release.

NetBreeze: March 7, 2013

NetBreeze, a social media management company targeting customer relationship management, was an acquisition made to accelerate Microsoft's ability "to help businesses analyze and act on market intelligence from social conversations," according to a Microsoft press release. NetBreeze was one of several acquisitions made by the software giant in a push toward capitalizing on the social media revolution and followed the key acquisition of MarketingPilot by less than five months. One of NetBreeze's selling factors, according to the press release, was its functionality across 28 languages.

InRelease: June 3, 2013

Microsoft's acquisition of InCycle Software's application life-cycle management business, InRelease, was intended to help "customers deliver applications faster, better and more efficiently," according to a Microsoft press release. Applications, according to partners, have been one of Microsoft's greatest downfalls in the mobile device arena. "It's not as much about the quality of the devices as it is about the applications and the environment built around the device," said Jason Tierney, CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based BeyondIT Consulting. Tierney said Android devices have succeeded largely because of applications.