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Mojang Ranks Among Microsoft's Biggest Acquisitions

Microsoft just spent $2.5 billion on Mojang, the little Swedish company that created the wildly popular, blocky-graphic video game Minecraft.

This is an enormous amount of money by any standard. For a little context, this ranks as the fourth-largest dollar amount for an investment in Microsoft's history. It trails only what Microsoft paid for Skype ($8.5 billion), Nokia's phone business ($7.2 billion) and aQuantive ($6.3 billion).

Even with rough estimates for inflation, the Mojang acquisition still appears to hold onto that fourth-place rank. Microsoft is putting more value on Mojang than it did on Visio Corp., Navision, Great Plains, Fast Search & Transfer or Yammer, to name a few strategic acquisitions in the company's past.

In explaining what it's getting for all that money, Microsoft called Minecraft one of the most popular video games in history and noted the 100 million downloads on PC alone since 2009, the 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the past two years and the game's status as the top paid app for iOS and Android in the United States.

"Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. "Minecraft is more than a great game franchise -- it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft."

It's interesting that Nadella's first big investment as CEO comes not in his wheelhouse of enterprise software and services but instead in the area of gaming. The move does seem to confirm that Nadella's Microsoft will remain committed to consumer gaming, despite all the calls from outside Microsoft for him to sell off the Xbox business.

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM


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