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What should Microsoft buy? 10 companies for Satya Nadella’s shopping list

The market for tech mergers and acquisitions is robust proper now. Fb is acquiring Oculus. Comcast is buying Time Warner Cable, and AT&T is combining with DirecTV. To not point out all of the rumored offers within the works, together with the newest — a report that Google’s newly acquired Nest division is itself concerned with acquiring connected home camera company Dropcam.

So what about Microsoft? Oh proper, the Redmond firm simply accomplished one of many largest acquisitions in its historical past, the $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia’s Gadgets & Providers enterprise, remodeling Microsoft right into a smartphone maker.

However that was Steve Ballmer’s deal. Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, has an opportunity to make his mark with a significant acquisition — one thing daring and maybe even sudden that might reshape Microsoft’s enterprise or lay the muse for future flagship merchandise.

Microsoft employs an skilled workforce of company growth execs, and we wouldn’t presume to inform them find out how to do their jobs. However simply for enjoyable, the GeekWire workforce put our heads collectively and got here up with a list of potential Microsoft acquisitions, beneath. They vary from some very reasonable (or not less than conceivable) offers to game-changing acquisitions which might be, admittedly far much less more likely to occur.

In fact, there’s a case to be made that Nadella should keep away from large offers altogether, for now. Acquisitions are very robust to drag off efficiently, as evidenced by Microsoft’s failed attempt to swallow aQuantive. The corporate has gone by means of a 12 months of unprecedented change, and it’s solely now beginning to combine the Nokia gadgets enterprise, with no assure of success. There’s one thing to be stated for focusing as an alternative on accelerating and increasing the pipeline of innovation inside the corporate.

However M&A is a well timed matter: With Nadella showing tonight at Re/code’s Code Conference, he’ll be rubbing shoulders within the hallways with the highest executives of many potential acquisition targets, speaking with lots of them for the primary time in his new position.

So what should Satya purchase? Right here is our try at a shopping list.

Field: The enterprise cloud storage company would bolster Microsoft’s efforts to supply cloud providers to giant companies, one thing that’s excessive on Nadella’s agenda. As a bonus, Mercer Island’s personal Aaron Levie would get an opportunity to assist shake up his hometown software program large from the within. Field has delayed its IPO, which might open the door for a big acquirer.

Sonos: If you happen to’re constructing the Web of Issues, don’t forget the speakers! The wi-fi house audio firm has a loyal following amongst music followers, and it has a Microsoft pedigree already, having introduced former Xbox exec Robbie Bach onto its board in 2011, and extra just lately employed former Xbox government Marc Whitten as its chief product officer. If Nadella needs to double-down within the front room, Sonos may very well be a logical step.

jawboneJawbone: Talking of audio system, this privately held firm markets wi-fi Jambox audio system and Bluetooth Jawbone headsets, however the actual enchantment for Microsoft could be the Jawbone UP wristbands, which might immediately give Microsoft a critical presence in wearables.

Evernote: Proper, in all probability not going to occur. Microsoft appears intent on competing on this market with its personal OneNote apps, as evidenced by OneNote’s integration into the Floor Professional 3 pen. However Evernote has a loyal fan base on a wide range of gadgets, and made its mark by main the way in which for synchronizing notes throughout platforms.

Haiku Deck:  Hey, Adam Tratt, you by no means know, it might occur! The previous Microsoft product supervisor and his workforce at Seattle startup Haiku Deck have reimagined the process of creating slide decks with their easy-to-use apps for iPad and the online, giving folks a brand new strategy to create displays. The subsequent model of PowerPoint may benefit considerably from their method.

LinkedIn: Microsoft has dabbled in social networks by itself, by means of its acquisition of Yammer, and as a pre-IPO Fb investor. However in distinction with Fb, LinkedIn’s enterprise focus truly suits extra carefully with Microsoft’s power in enterprise know-how. If it had been to occur, it could be an enormous deal, given LinkedIn’s standing as a public firm valued at practically $20 billion.

Netflix: One other whopper right here, in additional methods than one. Netflix has a market worth of practically $24 billion, and CEO Reed Hastings — a former Microsoft board member — could be unlikely to go down this path. However Netflix would considerably increase Microsoft’s place in content material and residential leisure, with numerous pure tie-ins to the Xbox enterprise past the present Netflix apps for Microsoft’s consoles.

Tableau Software program: Tableau’s newfound standing as a public firm makes this much less possible, however the data visualization software company performs into Microsoft’s broader push to deliver “large knowledge” instruments and insights to the plenty. Tableau can also be primarily based in Seattle, which might (theoretically) make the mixing simpler for the companies, and provides Microsoft a presence within the Middle of the Universe (a.ok.a. Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood).

Tesla Motors: The suggestion that Microsoft would purchase an electric car maker — and Elon Musk could be prepared to promote — divided the GeekWire newsroom, with sure members of the workforce declaring it a ridiculous thought. Sure, it’s a bit far-fetched. However hey, so long as we’re speaking about Microsoft’s future, why not utterly break the mildew? The automobile is simply one other linked system, and Tesla is definitely a greater candidate for Microsoft than, say, Basic Motors.

T-Cellular US: File this one beneath “out of the field.” T-Cellular has been shaking up the wi-fi trade, and attracting curiosity from its bigger competitor Dash (and its dad or mum, SoftBank) as a merger candidate. So why shouldn’t Microsoft soar into the wi-fi trade? As a bonus, the Bellevue-based firm is simply down the street from Microsoft, and T-Cellular’s brash CEO John Legere would introduce the idea of on-stage profanity to Microsoft’s product launches.

OK, that’s our list. It was a enjoyable train, though we in all probability gained’t be getting recruited by any M&A departments anytime quickly.

What do you assume? Inform us we’re nuts and publish your personal list beneath.

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