MIGHTY Microsoft's mergers and acquisitions department might as well have taken the year off, having not made a single purchase in the last twelve months.
While the Vole's checkbook holders and wallet gatekeepers' friends and relatives are receiving postcards and awaiting the delivery of stuffed donkeys and bottles of Sangria, the same can't be said of the competition. And as such the Redmond firm could suffer in the innovation and skills stakes, according to the experts at CB Insights.
"While Google has been active doing many smaller acquisitions, and HP and IBM are doing larger deals and Facebook and Twitter are also doing acquisitions, generally of the talent type, Redmond-based Microsoft is notable for its absence," the analysts said.
There may be two reasons behind this, according to the experts, who added that Microsoft might have made the decision to grow 'organically', or could be planning something bigger. Like buying Africa, perhaps. Alternatively, it might just have forgotten its online banking passwords. We can't be sure.
CB Insight seems to be suggesting that a lack of acquisitions is the same as sitting in a pond stagnating though, and in its words on the competition hinted that they were growing not just in terms of workers, but also in their skills and technology warchests.
For example, of HP which spent more money than God on 3Par, it said, "HP has been not just acquisitive but doing large acquisition deals (four over $1 billion) with the aim to bring on technology, products and services that will move the proverbial needle at the behemoth tech company."
Microsoft's lack of acquisition - or do we mean ambition? - could also be the reason why the firm has fallen off the radar in tech reporting. According to numbers from the Pew Research Center, the company has received just one fifth (PDF) of the press attention that Apple has lately. But then Microsoft hasn't released a phone that needs a rubber band to make it work.
Apple apparently wagged the dog over the last twelve months by drawing out its press releases, which also included the launch of the Ipad tablet, and throwing its lawyers at firms that use the word 'Pod'.
In doing so it gained more column inches, and fanboi angst, than Twitter, Facebook and poor old Microsoft combined. µ
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