The Microsoft-Yahoo deal: How does it compare?

See how the deal compares to memorable high-tech acquisitions by Microsoft's main competitors

IBM buys Lotus Development (1995)

Why: Losing against Windows with OS/2, IBM wanted to open another front against Microsoft with strong desktop software products. Lotus had Notes, then the dominant "groupware" product, and its SmartSuite office productivity suite.

Price: US$3.5 billion

Hostile/friendly: Lotus initially looked for a "white knight" to save it from IBM's clutches but quickly succumbed after IBM re-raised its offer.

Key premerger stats:

Notes was used by 1.5 million employees at 5,500 companies at the time, according to The New York Times.

Postmerger:

Notes remains popular, though Microsoft Outlook and Exchange surpassed it nearly five years ago. SmartSuite was a nonstarter. However, IBM is taking another stab at unseating Microsoft in Office and e-mail. Notes 8 is now much slicker-looking, while IBM has introduced an office suite based around OpenOffice technology that draws upon the old Lotus Symphony brand name.

Other major IBM acquisitions:

2002: PricewaterhouseCoopers, for US$3.5 billion

2003: Rational Software, for US$2.1 billion

2007: Cognos, for US$5 billion

Sources: Computerworld, IDG News Service, Microsoft.com, Wikipedia, Morningstar.com, HP.com, SEC.gov, Bizjournals.com, The New York Times, News.com

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Eric Lai

Computerworld

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