With Mojang, Microsoft buys its fourth non-U.S.-based company in 2014

Microsoft has acquired its fourth non-.U.S. company this year with its purchase of Mojang, the creator of the Minecraft game, for $2.5 billion.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is continuing to spend its overseas cash with its acquisition of Minecraft creator Mojang for $2.5 billion.

Microsoft announced the purchase on September 15, noting Mojang will be joining Microsoft Studios.


Talk that Microsoft might be poised to buy Stockholm-based Mojang for $2 billion first arose last week in a story The Wall Street Journal. A report by Bloomberg also reported that Microsoft was close to making an offer for the company that makes the popular building game that runs on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android and Sony PlayStation.

(A version of Minecraft for the Xbox One was released on September 5, but so far the game still isn't available for Windows Phone.)

Majong's founders, Notch, Carl, and Jakob, are leaving the company. In a statement on the company blog, the Minecraft developer said: "We don’t know what they’re planning. It won’t be Minecraft-related but it will probably be cool." 

Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella identified games and gaming as one of Microsoft's biggest "digital life" categories in which the company planned to continue to invest. 

Since the start of 2014, Microsoft has acquired six companies, including Mojang. Of these six, four were headquartered outside the U.S. (Microsoft also is believed to have bought wearable computing intellectual property from San Francisco-based The Osterhout Design Group, though it didn't buy the entire company.)

Microsoft is interested in using its billions of overseas cash to acquire companies and technologies so as to avoid paying hefty U.S. taxes the company would accrue by spending that money on U.S. companies.

Here's a list of the companies Microsoft bought so far this year:

Parature (January 2014)

Microsoft bought Parature, a Herndon, Virg.-based customer-case service provider, to bolster its Dynamics CRM line-up.

The Osterhout Design Group (March 2014)

Microsoft didn't buy all of The Osterhout Design Group, but may have bought $150 million worth of wearable intellectual property from the San Francisco company, according to TechCrunch.

GreenButton (May 2014)

Microsoft bought New Zealand-based GreenButton to integrate its technology into Azure to help manage compute-intensive workloads in the cloud.

Capptain (May 2014)

Microsoft bought Capptain, a cross-platform French mobile analytics vendor, and plans to integrate its technology with Azure for mobile-app dev.

SyntaxTree (July 2014)

Microsoft bought SyntaxTree, the French company behind the cross-platform UnityVS game-development plug-in for Visual Studio.

InMage (July 11, 2014)

Microsoft bought San Jose-based disaster recovery vendor InMage to integrate its cross-platform disaster recovery/cloud-continuity technology into Azure. The new Microsoft Migration Accelerator, designed to help move workloads from various platforms into Azure, also is based on InMage's technology. 

There have been rumors that Microsoft plans to make another acquisition of a non-U.S.-based company before this year is out. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Microsoft was working to purchase Israeli cybersecurity startup Aorato. Aorato is focused on improving the security IT infrastructure, including that of Microsoft's Active Directory technology. 

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