Bloomberg News says the Redmond company will be holding on to its stake in the social network as a “strategic investment” that goes along with its partnership with Facebook. As we’ve noted in the past, the Facebook investment is one of the smartest deals Microsoft has made in recent years, not because of any direct financial gain but because it made the companies stronger allies.
The Facebook partnership has helped Microsoft Bing incorporate social data into its search results, among other features.
Big investors will be able to start selling their Facebook shares on Thursday as a post-IPO lockup period expires. But Facebook’s struggling share price has reduced the gains those investors would see.
Microsoft, which invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007, owned 1.7 percent of Facebook after its initial public offering, valued around $572 million based on the current share price.