Spending spree: looking back on a notable year of Microsoft acquisitions

In 2016 Microsoft made quite a few headlines for its software releases, hardware reveals, and its increasing cozy relationship with the open source community. Orbiting parallel to Microsoft’s newsworthy notes of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Surface Studio reveal and leading most companies in GitHub contributions, are the occasional acquisitions that shake up the tech sector.

Looking back on the company’s acquisitions in 2016, Microsoft might be best remembered for its whopping $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn, but that would only be a small glimpse into the small spending spree of the company for the year.

While Microsoft’s 2016 purchasing list may have seemed like a muted affair compared to its 2015 shopping spree, the businesses that litter the list this year should help to clarify where the company will be headed in 2017 and beyond.

LinkedIn

By far the most glorified purchase for Microsoft is its $26.2 billion dollar elephant in the room, LinkedIn. On June 13, 2016,  Microsoft declared its intentions to purchase the business professional social networking site for what’s being recorded as one of the largest buys in the tech community in recent years. Despite competitive opposition from SalesForce, Microsoft came out on top and finalized the deal a few weeks ago.

Xamarin

Next up can arguably viewed as the most important purchase for the company moving forward in its acquisition of Xamarin. Headling Microsoft’s developer conference earlier this year was the announcement of the company getting into the multi-code cross-platform development game with Xamarin.

“With today’s acquisition announcement we will be taking this work much further to make our world class developer tools and services even better with deeper integration and seamless mobile app dev experiences. The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure provides a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything you need to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device. We are really excited to see what developers build with it.”

MinecraftEdu

Following up its increasingly successful buy of Minecraft, Microsoft also gobbled up MinecraftEdu to bolster its younger audience play.

The Rest

Microsoft spent the remainder fo the year snatching up some comparatively low-key companies such as SwiftKey, Solair, Wand Labs, Beam, Genee, Event Zero and Code Connect.

Here is the full list of Microsoft’s acquisitions and dates for 2016.

Microsoft’s reorganization is fully underway in large part due to its acquisitions list over the past few years. Company purchases and integrations such as Sunrise, Xamarin, LinkedIn, Acompli, Mojang, Double Labs, Havok and more are helping Microsoft chisel out a new foundation for forward progress.

It’ll be interesting to see who Microsoft has its eye on next year and how it fits into Microsoft’s new productivity focused future.

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What company in 2017 should Microsoft be looking into, and why?