Microsoft rumored to be poised to buy Minecraft creator for $2 billion

Microsoft may be ready to spend a sizable chunk of its offshore cash to buy the Swedish company behind Minecraft, according to new report. Here's why this deal would make sense for the Softies.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

According to a Tuesday report in The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is close to buying Mojang, the creator of the Minecraft videogame, for $2 billion.


Here's why this rumor makes sense from the Microsoft perspective.

Microsoft is hot to acquire non-U.S.-based companies so as to spend some of its overseas cash. Mojang AB is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Nokia's devices and services business, which Microsoft bought a year ago for $7.2 billion, was its last big overseas purchase.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made it clear earlier this year that Microsoft's senior leadership team considers games and gaming as important to Microsoft's future.

Minecraft is a construction game where users can build anything they can envision. The game is available on Minecraft.net.

In his July 10 memo to employees that defined Microsoft's new charter, Nadella called gaming "the single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent" in a mobile-first world.

Though some on Wall Street have been pressuring Microsoft to sell off Xbox, Nadella said: "Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox."

"We also benefit from many technologies flowing from our gaming efforts into our productivity efforts — core graphics and NUI in Windows, speech recognition in Skype, camera technology in Kinect for Windows, Azure cloud enhancements for GPU simulation and many more," Nadella said in that memo.

"Bottom line, we will continue to innovate and grow our fan base with Xbox while also creating additive business value for Microsoft."

Microsoft has been an advocate of using games and gamification to get all types of users interested in its products and technologies.

All that said, Markus Persson, the founder of Mojang, has been opposed to outside investment and isn't much of a fan of big companies, including Microsoft, as the Journal noted.

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