And now Ballmer is buying all of Web 2.0, too

Ballmer will buy 20 Web 2.0 companies each year for the next 5 years. What's he going to buy?

Ballmer, not one to be upstaged, decided to outdo his own comments on open-source acquisitions by saying, willy nilly, that Microsoft will buy 20 Web 2.0 startups each year. I guess he was tired of seeing Google and Yahoo! duke it out over Web 2.0 companies with a year's existence and no compelling business model for $30 million a pop. "I can do even better!" he charged.

He even said he'd spend between $50 million and $1 billion on each. That's between $5 billion and $100 billion, The Register suggests, between now and 2013. Normally it's a good idea to decide who and what to buy before you start deciding to shell out cash, but given Microsoft's historic record on acquisitions (it's hardly acquisitive by comparison with its competitors), maybe Ballmer was just trying to pump himself up to do it.

"I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I'll try," says the Little Ballmer that Could.

The real trick now will be in how to spin one's company as a web company so as to swipe a bit of that $100 billion warchest. Web 2.0 + open source and you're now golden in Microsoft's eyes. Let the auction begin.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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