What would you do with $44 Billion?
Forty four billion dollars! It’s a huge sum of money. It’s a lot of money to pay to create Pepsi (apparently I prefer Coke). Others have provided their analysis of the deal. There is a mad rush to create a true competitor to Google in the rapidly growing online advertising market and now that a combined Microhoo/Yahsoft which would have created a set of highly trafficked sites and a huge amount of ad revenue, it is now off the table.
Cash. Stock. Debt. It doesn’t really matter because $44 billion is a lot of money. It’s more than the combined venture funding in the US in software since 2002! The actual amount according to PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree is closer to $31B. Interestingly, angel investors in 2007 put $26 billion into 57,120 ventures according to a study by Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire!
To hell with a $10 million dollar Facebook Application Fund. Never mind a $100 million dollar iPhone Fund. What about a new huge software fund aimed at funding new solutions on the Microsoft platform?
Going on an acquisition spree seems to make a lot of sense, Kara Swisher calls it Project Granola, but imagine the power of creating MicroBook, FaceSoft AND all of the other properities already out there. Digg. TechCrunch. GigaOM. LinkedIn. Meebo. The list is almost endless. Building a open media ecosystem to compete with Google, Yahoo and others. What about investments in non-North American properties? It’s a great time to be building media properties. It’s not the first time that it has been suggested that Microsoft could benefit by encouraging entrepreneurs to build successful media businesses.
With the $30 billion left over, it could be like Christmas in July for the geeks and venture firms of Silicon Valley. But Microsoft could scoop up a lot of good stuff, even if prices are high.
Here’s a list: LinkedIn. Digg. Flixster. Slide or RockYou. Veoh. WordPress. Sphere. Sugar. Some international stuff. And more.
Then, some noted, Microsoft would have to give massive financial incentives to those entrepreneurs to stay and thrive. Most importantly, it would have to keep its Redmond hands from interfering.
Time to take the lessons from building a successful software business, and see if the proceeds can be used to build an online media business(es).