Monday 13 June 2016 3:59 pm

Microsoft megadeals: As Microsoft shells out $26.2bn on LinkedIn, what has become of its other $1bn plus acquisitions?

Microsoft has announced plans to buy LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£18.5bn) – news so unexpected, it left most of the world's tech industry speechless.

And while Microsoft's shares fell 3.1 per cent to $49.88 in pre-market trading in New York, it had quite the opposite effect on LinkedIn shares, which rocketed 48.4 per cent, to $63.42.

Microsoft has form when it comes to multi-billion dollar acquisitions. But what has become of them since it bought them?

1. Visio: Still around


At the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999, Microsoft announced plans to buy flow chart software maker Visio. Microsoft reckons the software is now used by more than 12 million people – making it the "industry-leading diagramming solution". So there you go…

2. Navision: Still around


Microsoft's second $1bn plus acquisition was accounting software maker Navision, first launched in 1984 by three Danish college students. The software was swiftly absorbed into Microsoft's business solutions arm shortly after the company was bought in 2003. Its latest update, "Project Madeira", is set to be introduced this year.

3. aQuantive: $6.2bn writedown 


With more exquisite timing, Microsoft shelled out $66.50 per share, an 85 per cent premium, on online ad agency aQuantive shortly before the largest global economic crash in history – and, coincidentally, just after Google had agreed to buy rival DoubleClick. Lo and behold, in 2012 it emerged the company was taking a $6.2bn writedown on aQuantive as it failed to grow as quickly as forecast. 

4. Fast Search & Transfer: Absorbed


Continuing on its "multi-billion dollar acquisitions of companies with sexy names" theme, Microsoft bought Norweigian enterprise search solutions provider Fast Search & Transfer at the beginning of 2008. At the time, the company was mired in an accounting scandal, causing it to be dubbed the "Enron of Norway". The platform still exists, albeit as part of Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration platform.

5. Skype: Going strong(ish)


After several years in the billion-dollar-deal wilderness, Microsoft came back with a bang, with its buyout of Skype. The acquisition was controversial at the time – partly thanks to the fact Skype had made a small loss that year, partly thanks to the fact it was at 10 times revenues. Despite warnings to the contrary, it seems to have carried on growing: an estimate in May this year put Skype's user base at 74m, up from 45.5m in September 2012. Although whether all those users were paying is another question

6. Yammer: Fading


Remember Yammer? The "community-building product", designed to help businesses build their own social networks, was dubbed "Facebook for business". Two years after the company was bought, co-founder David Sacks left – while another co-founder, Adam Pisoni (regarded as its main proponent in Microsoft) left to start in 2015. In January this year Microsoft quietly laid off Yammer's 40 remaining customer success managers.

7. Nokia: Broken up


Things hadn't been going well for Nokia for some time when Microsoft announced it was buying the manufacturing arm of the Finnish mobile giant in 2013, killing off the company's brand name in 2014. The company had been described as a "burning platform" by chief executive Stephen Elop shortly before. Its employees had a choice: stay on the platform or dive into the waves below. Last month Microsoft offloaded the feature handset business (which didn't include Lumia) to an arm of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn for $350m.

8. Mojang (aka Minecraft)


In potentially its most exciting acquisition to date, Microsoft splashed out $2.5bn on Mojang, the maker of cult game Minecraft. Its acquisition was bittersweet: in a statement, a spokesman suggested the company had become too big for its founders to handle – they all left as soon as it was acquired.

Shortly afterwards, a video for Microsofts cool Hololens holographic goggles showed people playing Minecraft on their tabletops – suggesting the future of the company may be bright.