Microsoft’s 2011 fiscal year, which ended in June, was one of its lightest on record for acquisitions. The company, which has more than $50 billion in cash and short-term investments, spent just $75 million to acquire three entities during the year.

Maybe it was saving up for Skype? The numbers don’t include Microsoft’s proposed $8.5 billion acquisition of the online communications company, which is still in process and hasn’t yet closed.

The acquisition figure is one of the more interesting nuggets from the company’s annual Form 10-K filing, made pubic by the Securities & Exchange Commission this afternoon. It doesn’t identify the three entities for which Microsoft paid the total of $75 million, but it confirms that the company had been largely sitting on the sidelines prior to announcing the Skype deal.

By comparison, Microsoft spent $267 million on acquisitions in fiscal 2010, and $925 million the year before that. The big year for the company was 2008, when it closed its $6 billion deal to buy aQuantive and paid more than $8 billion total in a variety of deals.

(Note: Figure for 2010 corrected since original post.)

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  • Jonathan Sposato

    great post todd.  i have a perspective on this as a seller.  first MSFT m&a processes generally move slower than their competitors.   that’s just an observable fact.  after initial sniff test, they have to get a lot more ducks lined up across product teams (lateral), and upwards to GM/VP levels.   by the time they’ve done that, google or FB may already have a termsheet presented.  second, above avg personnel churn within their corp dev ranks in recent years has caused greater inactivity (you simply lose momentum when someone leaves), and thirdly, the ‘ballmer’ effect.   this where ballmer tends to frown upon rewarding former msft-ies who have left to do startups.   

    all of these understandable, but in a much more competitive m&a environment like in recent years, it causes an outsized effect.

  • Guest

    Given how few MS M&A deals have every worked out, maybe that’s a good thing.

  • Guest

    $267 billion in 2010, really?

  • Guest

    correction, 267 bazingajillion is the proper amount for fiscal year 2010

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