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Microsoft Trolling for New Acquisitions 142

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the playing-catch-up dept.
NewShinyCD writes "Sources tell Valleywag that startup Ustream.tv is in advanced discussions with Microsoft to acquire the lifecasting service for more than $50 million, but there are other companies in the bidding as well. Ustream is currently raising a very large initial round of VC financing, and Microsoft is attempting to grab them prefunding for a cheap price. Our tipster also mentions that Microsoft would use Ustream as a way to promote its Adobe Flash competitor, Silverlight." Relatedly, Microsoft has also announced their intent to buy Sidekick maker Danger. Financial details of the Danger buyout were not disclosed.
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Microsoft Trolling for New Acquisitions

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  • by abaddononion (1004472) on Monday February 11, 2008 @03:41PM (#22382350)
    Maybe that's a fair point (I'm not saying the title created was unbiased, at all), but I think that this is put into a different perspective in the wake of Microsoft attempting to buy Yahoo, as well.

    There's a chance that this sudden surge of purchasing, if it's anything out of the ordinary (maybe it isn't, I don't personally keep close enough tabs on Microsoft acquisitions), is a sign of some sort of desperation on Microsoft's end. Rather than attempting to come up with any further new ideas (something I'm not certain Microsoft has really been interested in for a while now), they just seem to want to buy enough bits and pieces of the industry to increase their foothold.

    But then, Im just speculating. Appearances may be deceiving, but this appears to be an indicator that something's up over at M$. I just wonder the impact it will have if they were to go through with all of these acquisitions--including Yahoo--and none of it did them any good. Seems like that'd put a big dent even into Microsoft's daunting coffers.
  • by sjaguar (763407) on Monday February 11, 2008 @03:47PM (#22382420) Homepage
    As a .NET developer, I would go to one of Microsoft's sites every day. Since their deployment of Silverlight (and my refusal to install), I will only go once every few months or so.
  • Copycat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope.gmail@com> on Monday February 11, 2008 @03:53PM (#22382502) Journal
    Part of MS's strategy is to let other companies find markets, and then compete in them once those markets exist.

    XBox. Zune. Live Search (let's buy Yahoo!)

    The iPhone was wildly successful so let's copy it, since that seems to be working for us so well with the iPod.

    The best part of this "strategy" is that every division except the office/Windows division, loses money. Which leads me to wonder why they even try.
  • by smitty97 (995791) on Monday February 11, 2008 @03:59PM (#22382576)
    and now that the yahoo thing isn't happening, they've got some money burning a hole in their pocket. apparently they can afford nearly 1000 of these little $50M companies.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:02PM (#22382608) Journal
    Microsoft haven't been about creating new ideas for a long while now, if they ever were. The interesting change is that, now, rather than buying the best company in a market they want to enter, they are failing to buy the second-best. The thing this really indicates is that the management at Microsoft is no longer able to predict (or control) technology trends accurately enough to buy companies before they can gain a major foothold on the market. I wonder what Larry and Sergei would have said to an offer of a few million from Microsoft in 1999.
  • by Fallen Andy (795676) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:21PM (#22382872)
    Click on the picture at top right and scroll through the

    short thread at http://www.caligari.com/ [caligari.com].

    Does this mean we'll see a 3d desktop on Blue Crystals(R) 7.5 I wonder?

    or even worse a 3d virtual MS-Bob

    Andy

  • by GuNgA-DiN (17556) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:31PM (#22382992)
    Say goodbye to the Sidekick (aka Danger HipTop). Microsoft is simply the kiss of death for any company or product. Like chatting with your friends on AIM? Forget it! You can force them to sign up for an MSN account now. Like using sites like Google to look up info on your Sidekick? Forget it! You'll use Windows Live and like it! Like using your Sidekick and think it's pretty stable? Not any more.... here comes Windows Mobile.... to fuck up the day! Microsoft thinks that they are going to get a big youth market who doesn't even realize that things have changed. Nope. Instead they'll get millions of kids dropping their Sidekick accounts and moving on to something cooler.
  • Diworsification (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TruthfulLiar (927336) on Monday February 11, 2008 @04:44PM (#22383130) Homepage
    Some investment book I was reading (Peter Lynch, maybe) referred to companies investing in areas outside their traditional areas as diworsification because when companies did it, it usually hurt the business. And in either Built to Last or Good to Great, Jim Collins says that great businesses stick to their main thing they do well (their "hedgehog concept"). I wonder if Microsoft has lost its vision. Seems like they would do better if they focussed on making a great OS (their main strength) for mobile phones rather than making phones (not their strength).
  • Re:Diworsification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iamnafets (828439) on Monday February 11, 2008 @06:58PM (#22384708) Homepage
    I think Microsoft's primary divisions (Office and Windows) while profitable, are not "future proof." Microsoft is a very forward thinking company and is looking for a profitable escape route that they jump onto with their almost unfair lump of cash. They can afford to poke around a bit in other markets until they find a place worth settling, and since Office and Windows development are largely at critical mass, there's really no better way to use the money... Nobody is going to buy an extra copy of Windows because 100 new devs are working on the hotfixes for minor bugs in file copying for Vista.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2008 @07:21PM (#22385042)
    You are right on both counts. Lots of cash sitting around means resources that are not being used (unless MS was planning for a recession.)

    Yahoo has so many services that Microsoft already has, its a big duplication of effort.

    Instead, MS should set its sights on companies that are going to make money via corporate regulations. Storage companies for example are making a killing because of regs like Sarbanes Oxley where everything has to be archived for seven years, down to the smell and sound pressure level of employee farts.

    Heck with Yahoo. Yahoo is last year's technology. MS should start buying storage and management companies so they can get a piece of the archiving and regulatory compliance pie. This is where the cash is. If MS can provide a one stop shop for all Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, and other regulation needs, businesses would go with them and stay with them forever. MS needs to put effort into a format based on XPS to support archiving of documents across multiple versions, multiple users, and any hardware platforms.

    Other things MS should consider researching are wireless storage protocols and means of doing transparent backups. For example, combine a backup/archival program such as Networker or Backup Exec with the NTFS snapshotting technology of Windows 2003 and newer (which is similar to Apple's Time Machine), and allow this to save files via wireless protocols (Bluetooth, 802.11). Allowing computers to be backed up just by entering the range of a backup device would cause companies to beat a path to MS's door. This would make disaster recovery a lot easier, because an admin can either restore the machine via a created .WIM image, or the machine can be booted and restored via the network. Of course, the backups would have an encryption layer (can be done similar to EFS with various users getting recovery keys to various machines), to keep some guy from just lifting the backup storage array and then possessing the keys to the kingdom.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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