A recent blog post from information service provider CB Insights reveals a truly shocking piece of news: Microsoft has announced zero acquisitions in 2010, while Google has acquired 23 companies, 75 percent of which are venture financed or angel-backed.
Somewhat perversely, Twitter, which still can't figure out a sustainable revenue model, made three acquisitions related to social media and analytics, while IBM absorbed much of the enterprise software market. In fact, there were only a few acquisitions--primarily hardware related--that wouldn't have been interesting to Microsoft.
There are no doubt a multitude of reasons why Microsoft hasn't been down the acquisition path this year, perhaps the biggest of which is the sting of the failed acquisition of Yahoo. But, whatever the reasons, Microsoft is losing out not just on the top start-up technologies, but also on the best talent available.
And while I stopped Microsoft bashing a number of years ago, this illustrates the continued existence of the company's myopic view and self-obsessed approach to the software industry. Certainly the company can afford to buy nearly any (and every) start-up, and there have been a wide range of companies that had technologies that could have increased market share in a number of areas--mobile, search, and social networking all come to mind.
Despite this, there are signs Microsoft at least has an idea of the pulse of the market, as the company today announced it was killing off its Windows Live Spaces in favor of the Wordpress blog platform.
Maybe partnering is the new acquisition?