So, when exactly are Microsoft going to buy Automattic?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out it’s going to happen – here’s the case for it:

  1. Back in November 2009 Matt Mullenweg is the star guest for the Windows Azure presentation
  2. Then earlier this very month we have the transfer of the WordPress trademark away from Automattic as ‘Automattic might not always be under my [Matt's] influence’
  3. And now we have the small matter of 30 million Windows Live users going to wordpress.com

It’s all a bit too snug wouldn’t you say!

Not that there’s anything wrong with being purchased by MS, although I’m sure there are plenty in the community that would say otherwise (I wouldn’t be one though).

If I had to make a guess, I’d say that the original plan was to sell to Yahoo, prior to Yahoo’s general collapse, and that now the eyelids are fluttering at MS… and I’m just going to speculate wildly here, but maybe for a $500m+ deal.

So whaddya reckon – am I right or am I right?

Tags

Comments (32)

  1. I personally don’t think so, because step3 would be the other way around…. Not migrating spaces to WordPress and thèn buying Automattic, but first buying Automattic and thèn migrating to WordPress. That makes more sense, I think.
    When you want to get rid of your blogs, you don’t want them back later on?
    Just my 2 cents!

  2. I agree with Joel. I don’t think you get rid of millions of users, probably losing some in the process, just to get them back later. I think Microsoft was tired of supporting these users without making any real revenue and just wanted to dump them. It’s a win for Microsoft (they cut maintenance cost significantly), a win for Automattic (they gain millions of potential new customers to sell add ons to), and good for the users (they get migrated to a superior blogging platform with little to no work on their end).

    I’m not saying Automattic won’t be acquired at some point, but I hardly think this move classifies as the writing on the wall.

  3. I would say there is pretty much no chance this will happen.
    a. Matt Mullenweg nor any other automatticians would stand for it.
    b. Why would Automattic, a profitable private company sell to a giant corporation?
    c. What motives does MS actually have to buy Automattic?
    d. What Joel said above, why would they give their blogs away and than try to buy them back!?

    This is an exagerated conclusion in my opinion.

  4. MS is a businesses minded company and seeing how the Web is going, going, gone 2.0, then it only makes sense to look at groups that have been successful in this arena. Automattic has been successful with an “open” model and embraced web 2.0 main concepts. It is a good possibility that MS will acquire Automattic, and if it does happen, then the acquisition will change things considerably!

  5. Didnt say that it would be a good fit or even work. : ) Big business likes to keep finding ways to make money and Automattic makes money, therefore MS (thru acquisition of Automattic) could make more money. Purely a business move and not motivated by wanting to improve the current tech environment.

  6. Even if MS did want to acquire Automattic, why would you significantly raise the value of the company by transferring a large portion of your users to that company?

    If MS wanted to buy them, they would do it, THEN move their user base over. Now it would cost them a large chunk of change to cover the increased value of Automattic from gaining millions of new users (potential customers), not to mention the costs that MS is going to be out helping users ease into the transfer.

    This was a dump of an unprofitable service by MS. Nothing more.

  7. Now it would cost them a large chunk of change to cover the increased value of Automattic from gaining millions of new users (potential customers), not to mention the costs that MS is going to be out helping users ease into the transfer.

    How do you know they haven’t already bought Automattic? These things are settled weeks or months before being announced in public. I find it pretty hard to believe that Microsoft are gfting millions of users and their content to Automattic out of sheer altruism. It’s rather more plausible that Automattic sold to them on condition that Matt got custody of the WP trademark.

    What raised the red flag for me was how wordpress.com was suddenly plugging IE9 on its front page and in its official blog. That’s just not something Automattic would ever have done of their own accord.

  8. Matt’s promoted IE a couple of times in the past.

    What’s surprising though that most people miss is that the trademark has still yet to be transferred. It’s still held by Automattic.

    The only marks held by the Foundation is the circle W and wordcamp.

    Folks can look this up here:

    http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=4005%3Alrtk2k.1.1&p_search=searchss&p_L=50&BackReference=&p_plural=yes&p_s_PARA1=&p_tagrepl~%3A=PARA1%24LD&expr=PARA1+AND+PARA2&p_s_PARA2=wordpress&p_tagrepl~%3A=PARA2%24ALL&p_op_ALL=AND&a_default=search&a_search=Submit+Query&a_search=Submit+Query

    Hopefully that link will work.

  9. I find it pretty hard to believe that Microsoft are gfting millions of users and their content to Automattic out of sheer altruism. It’s rather more plausible that Automattic sold to them on condition that Matt got custody of the WP trademark.

    What raised the red flag for me was how wordpress.com was suddenly plugging IE9 on its front page and in its official blog. That’s just not something Automattic would ever have done of their own accord.

    I don’t think anybody needs to say anything more after this. There is a clear vision that MS is most likely to buy WordPress and Automattic. Some of you are saying that MS is increasing the value of WordPress by sending large number of bloggers over to it. I believe, whatever the price is, it’s a big thing for MS to buy Automattic (I think we need to type correctly from now on, Automatic. Matt is gonna be no longer, probably.

    That IE9 sponsored post caught my eye, too. How come suddenly WordPress.com began to support a browser that posed as nightmare to millions of people and developers? @David, Again, the same post was published from the WordPress.com official blog. I clearly see and understand MS’s approach to WP/Automattic.

    However, let me make it clear that if MS buys WP, I’m off to Joomla.

  10. Actually even if they did buy Automattic they wouldn’t necessarily be buying WordPress (the software available on WordPress.org), just WordPress.com and Automattic’s assets.

    The open source development of WordPress would continue since many of the core developers are not Automattic employees and under the terms of the GPL the project just can’t be made closed source all of a sudden.

    Also, the idea behind the WordPress Foundation is for it to own the WordPress related trademarks and make sure the WordPress.org project stays open source forever.

  11. Actually even if they did buy Automattic they wouldn’t necessarily be buying WordPress (the software available on WordPress.org), just WordPress.com and Automattic’s assets.

    Will you feel WordPress in the same way you fill now? Who knows M$ will add free toolbar download with each WordPress.org download ;)

  12. I think MS is hungry for a good CMS… but my money would be on MODx, not on WordPress. MODx revo has an impressive ORM layer that is architected to be database agnostic. Translation: it will work on SQL server, and THAT has MS pretty interested — they’ve been nosing around some of the MODx events too.

    My guess is that the recent movement with WP trademark stuff is because Automattic is looking towards its next thing. If they can profit from it, great, but if not, then not… WP has a lifespan, and I think its architecture is coming apart at the seams. Look at the steadily increasing number of actions and filters — it’s insane. WP may only have a couple major versions left before it’s eclipsed by something else.

Participate