updated 09:25 am EDT, Tue April 15, 2008
MS Finishes Danger Buyout
Microsoft today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Danger, bringing the Sidekick maker entirely into the larger company. Danger will now become a core component of the new Premium Mobile Experiences group at Microsoft and will be part of the Mobile Communications group inside of the Entertainment and Devices division. The freshly acquired company's founders now report directly to Roz Ho, corporate VP for the Premium Mobile Experiences group and former head of the Macintosh Business Unit.
Microsoft doesn't provide specifics as to the intentions behind the acquisition, but intends to create "cool, new, fun" experiences with cellphones, according to Ho.
The now-finalized buyout has already triggered claims that Microsoft may be designing cellphone hardware. While the new organization may change circumstances, Microsoft has normally kept its Windows Mobile division separate from the Entertainment and Devices division, which develops the Xbox 360 and Zune in addition to other, more hardware-focused projects. The acquisition is rumored to be worth $500 million, a reportedly high amount for a company like Danger.
Danger itself has never manufactured its own hardware, instead designing or co-designing Sidekicks with companies such as Motorola and Sharp while also creating the software used for the devices. The firm's efforts have often focused on non-traditional cellphone functions such as messaging and media, suggesting that Microsoft is looking to develop a vertically integrated phone.
Microsoft has in the past denied working on phones of its own, claiming the practice goes against its device-agnostic philosophy, but has contradicted its own stance with the wholly proprietary Zune. Microsoft continues to support its more widespread Windows Media format but has focused much of its attention on its own portable devices, which have taken marketshare from Microsoft partners.