(REDMOND, WA) Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced today that it had acquired WordPress, the popular online blogging platform. The deal sets Microsoft firmly down a path of acquiring the web’s widely used tools and platforms, after its recent acquisition of GitHub for $7.5 billion. However this time Microsoft was able to purchase the hugely popular blogging platform from Automattic and the WordPress Foundation for the bargain price of $7.95 (seven dollars and ninety five cents).
It is understood that GDPR generally frowns upon companies being able to trawl through users’ data without their express permission.
That is why, when the WordPress acquisition was announced, there were audible gasps from the assembled crowd. Microsoft was able to acquire the blogging giant for just $7.95, less than the cost of a single month of Automattic’s “Premium” subscription. Respected industry commentators have since concluded that the intrinsic value of a web platform is no more than the value of its list of e-mail addresses and accumulated user content. Under GDPR, without any (legal) way to monetize that content, most web platforms are effectively worthless. Many platforms even become a liability, after deducting the future cost of inevitable data breaches.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment specifically on the reasons for the stark difference in price between the two acquisitions, instead issuing a prepared statement, “We believe that the price paid for WordPress represents a fair value for the intellectual property of the business in a GDPR world”. WordPress is said to address a long-overdue gap in the Microsoft’s offering following the retirement of their blog platform attempt, Windows Live Spaces, in 2011.
The transaction was concluded on eBay after what can only be described as subdued bidding by a single interested buyer. Microsoft won an incredible concession out of the deal, avoiding the temptation of clicking the “Buy Now” button for $19.95. After deducting postage and handling, which Automattic is obliged to pay under eBay’s seller rules, Automattic and the WordPress Foundation are thought to receive just $3.60 from the $7.95 total purchase price.
The open source community on Twitter is understandably outraged. When someone pointed out that the hosted blogs on wordpress.com weren’t actually open source anyway, the outrage only intensified. Microsoft is still debating whether to migrate wordpress.com to Azure after some it received highly competitive offers from AWS and IBM Cloud to host the site. If accepted, this would be the first time that Microsoft purchased cloud services from an external provider.
Microsoft is said to be looking to acquire a significant number of platforms and open source projects at bargain basement prices. Apache Hadoop and several other big data sources are said to be within their sights. After recently sinking a data centre, Microsoft are at the very least committed to taking over hosting service Digital Ocean.