Before going any further, I would like to point out that I am not in any position to make business decisions so this post is really just a pie in the sky post about sites I like. I know this is a little break from my normal blog posts but the recent acquisition by Google of YouTube, which I'm not sure is the greatest move ever, has inspired me to jot down my top 10 web companies for acquisition. Note that these are not in order from most favorite to least, but just in order of the way I recalled them from memory.
- Bloglines - I love this aggregator and I think they are at the top of the game in terms of good RSS action. It would be great to leverage their development into building effective RSS integration into Vista and Live services.
- Redfin - I think they are changing the way people find / buy / sell real estate. Redfin could be leveraged into a Live service or Vista hooks.
- Zillow - Coupled with redfin makes a killer r/e product. Oh, and they're local!
- Six Apart - Dominates blogging, more eyeballs than any other acquisition could get us. I'm not sure they really could be considered to be "for sale" but hey, I can dream, right?
- Digg - Digg has a ton of cred as the indie site wrangler, I'd wager digg gets as many eyeballs as youtube without all the copyright baggage. We could leverage digg to promote SoapBox.
- Newsvine - Makes google news look dry. Does a great job of seeding up good content. Did I mention it has a very slick interface. Another prime candidate for Live integration. Oh, and they're local too.
- Brightcove - Like YouTube + iFilm with a profit model. Another very catchy video site but with stronger artistic and publisher emphasis. Partnerships could bring brightcove channels to Microsoft's platforms. Again, another opportunity to blend with SoapBox and push our Live initiative.
- Cloudmark* - I worked in anti-spam and I have to say that Cloudmark was the leader in terms of effective and efficient anti-spam technology. Microsoft could apply their resources to Outlook and Hotmail to lead in anti-spam. Another interesting thing about Cloudmark is that their technology could be applied to a number of two way web services such as comment spam and IM spam and phishing...
- Mercora - This sweet mobile streamer could be the push that Microsoft needs to iPod competition. Integration with Windows Mobile 5 and Media Center would make Vista and Mobile an even stronger upsell from XP.
- Weblogs, Inc. - The parent corporation for a number of highly popular blogs, the acquisition could improve our credibility on the web and in the new hotspots of news. Last I checked, msnbc wasn't topping the web news. Anyways, we could really use them to push the rest of our live initiatives through integration into a new suite of Windows Live news products...
There you have it, my top 10. I'm not an MBA (yet, I'm working on it though, planned graduation in 2008) and I have no idea as to whether or not Microsoft is considering or has considered these companies in acquisitions, but I would be the first to welcome them if we moved in and scooped them up. Many of these companies could contribute to our platforms and would integrate nicely into our core technologies and have resources that are difficult to immitate.
*Yes, I know cloudmark is not a "web" company technically, but their technology blends so tightly with web services, that I think they are valid for my list.