Microsoft Eyeing Social-Gaming Platform?

By Cindy Waxer October 01, 2010

Dust off your avatar. RumorsMicrosoft isn’t commenting on the Linden Lab speculation, but there have been reports that the Redmond giant may have made a bid for the company. abound that Microsoft is considering acquiring Linden Lab, the company behind the Second Life 3D virtual social-gaming platform.

That may come as a surprise to some industry watchers given Microsoft’s low profile in the acquisitions market this year. As reported earlier this week, despite its deep pockets and focus on new product developments, Microsoft hasn’t made a single acquisition this year, according to CB Insights. Although the company sealed some deals in 2010 (Sentillion, for example), these were all announced in 2009.  As of Sept. 24, Microsoft has yet to announce a single acquisition in 2010.  In fact, every other major tech company in the world has acquired at least 3 companies while Microsoft continues to keep a tight hold of its purse strings.

It’s a far cry from Google whose acquisition pace is significantly greater – almost double – of the next most acquisitive tech company, IBM.  Google’s mix of acquisitions is quite varied with a combination of larger acquisitions ($100 million plus) and some smaller talent acquisitions (the popularly coined “acqu-hire”), according to CB Insights. What’s more, Google completed 23 acquisitions year-to-date. As if making up for lost time, this year’s total is equivalent to Google’s cumulative acquisition total from 2007 to 2009.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has been busy expanding its gaming arm. In August, the company unveiled the newest addition to its “Age of Empires” franchise, “Age of Empires Online.” Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise.

“Today, we’re bringing powerful, inventive gaming experiences to the Windows-based PC,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, in a statement. “Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”




Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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