In-Depth

Top 10 Companies Microsoft Should Buy Today

Here's 10 companies we think Microsoft should buy right now to solidify its place in a variety of markets.

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will shock the market and make a bid for any of these players. While most these may be highly unlikely, others are not beyond the realm of possibility. But all of these would be interesting if combined with Microsoft.

10. Ping Identity Corp.
Ping is a supplier of an identity-management platform that provides federated single sign-on to various cloud services. With Microsoft going "all-in" on the cloud, this purchase just makes sense.

9. ScaleOut Software Inc.
This firm provides an in-memory object store that allows for distributed data grids in multiple environments. Its founder and CEO, William Bain, is a former 'Softie.

8. Facebook
Maybe you've heard of it? Tons of data, hopelessly addicted users -- there are 500 million accounts worldwide -- and a valuation that's up in the air at best right now. But is there a real business model here? There might not need to be in Redmond, which nonetheless has a small stake in this company.

7. Adobe Systems Inc.
The rumors are out there, and now the fate of Silverlight is in question (though Microsoft says it's still committed to it despite its newfound focus on HTML5). Nonetheless, it's not like Microsoft to swallow this big a fish whole, and it's not clear what Microsoft would do with the likes of Flash and Dreamweaver.

6. Amazon Web Services
Want to give that huge cloud initiative a real shot in the arm, Microsoft? This buy would bring you all-in for sure.

5. NetApp
The innovative storage and management vendor provides a huge range of products and services but flies just enough under the radar for now that Microsoft might be able to get it without breaking the bank. But NetApp, despite its innovations in software, is primarily a hardware company, so this is a deal not likely to happen.

4. NetSuite Inc.
One thing Microsoft Dynamics doesn't seriously offer is hosted enterprise resource planning. That's what NetSuite does, and it does it well.

3. Netflix Inc. or Redbox Automated Retail LLC
If Redmond is serious about being in the entertainment business, it needs to look at snapping up one of these content providers before somebody else does. Netflix in particular has shown great innovation and flexibility in recent years.

2. Salesforce.com
It's hard to imagine CEO Marc Benioff selling out to Steve Ballmer, but Salesforce.com would give Microsoft instant credibility in CRM and SaaS. Plus, Google has been a long-rumored Salesforce.com suitor, so Microsoft could beat a rival to the punch.

1. Citrix Systems Inc.
Yes, Microsoft has a tight partnership with the virtualization vendor -- which is all the more reason why it should snatch Citrix up and make immediate gains on VMware in the virtualization market.

About the Authors

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at lpender@redmondmag.com or follow him on Twitter.

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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