Microsoft has acquired San Diego-based TakeLessons for an undisclosed amount, as first reported by TechCrunch on September 10. TakeLessons is a collaboration platform designed to connect students with individual tutors and for tutors to create lessons they give students, virtually and in-person.
As far as I can tell, Microsoft didn't announce this acquisition anywhere publicly. TakeLessons posted a Q&A on its site about the acquisition. In that Q&A for its members, TakeLessons officials say they are expecting "the large majority of all instructors will remain on the platform," as they will continue to retain control over their hours and services.
The Q&A says the company still will continue to be called TakeLessons, though "we might add a 'Powered by Microsoft' to our name."
Microsoft could use TakeLessons to bolster its academic cloud service. It also could opt to make TakeLessons part of its assets in the "gig economy" space.
Microsoft is always looking for new ways to grow its Office user base by enlarging the overall market for Office. Company officials have made "first-line workers" a key target audience for Microsoft productivity applications. But the company also has taken some steps to make freelancers another potential growth target for Office and its other cloud/software products.
In 2018, Microsoft announced the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit, which is defined as "a curated set of tools, templates and best practices that help Microsoft customers launch, execute, and manage freelance programs at scale." The toolkit included a SharePoint communication site template for onboarding, Teams guidance, Power BI for creating reports and dashboards, and Flow for automating workflows. Microsoft launched the toolkit in conjunction with Upwork Enterprise as its go-to-market partner, which has its own compliance and freelance sourcing solution.
I've asked Microsoft for a comment about the TakeLessons acquisition. No word back so far.
Update: A spokesperson emailed me the following:
"Microsoft has acquired TakeLessons, the leading online community for lifelong learning. TakeLessons is a unique, trusted online marketplace that connects diverse, qualified and vetted instructors with students of all ages pursuing their goals. This acquisition is in response to the growing demand on personalized hybrid opportunities and expands our product offerings to TakeLessons consumers, a leading online learning platform."
I asked, but Microsoft is not disclosing terms of the agreement.