Since the acquisition of software firm Forethought in 1987, Microsoft has purchased an average of six companies a year, making the corporation one of the most prolific dealmakers of all time.
Most recently, the tech giant has announced the acquisition of Express Logic – an influential software company whose real-time operating systems (RTOS) power a large proportion of the world’s IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
This popularity has been built on versatility and energy efficiency. Express Logic’s RTOS ThreadX is suitable for both battery-powered devices with minimal memory, and more powerful hardware, making it the RTOS of choice for over 6.2 billion devices, from light bulbs and cameras, to space probes and medical devices.
Under Microsoft, this range of compatible devices is expected to increase further, with new integrations for existing tools like Microsoft’s Linux-based IoT operating system Azure Sphere:
“With this acquisition, we will unlock access to billions of new connected endpoints, grow the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure and enable new intelligent capabilities,” wrote Microsoft’s IoT director Sam George in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS joins Microsoft’s growing support for IoT devices and is complementary with Azure Sphere, our premier security offering in the microcontroller space.”
Microsoft’s acquisition strategy, says CFO Amy Hood, is focused on “communities” and “networked assets” – an approach that has led to the purchase of companies like LinkedIn and GitHub.
With the promise of delivering a hyper-connected technological ecosystem, IoT seems a perfect fit for this strategy, but Microsoft is not the only business that is interested.
As the technology continues to develop, a broad range of both tech firms and traditional companies are jostling to acquire startups and strategic partners that can help integrate IoT functionality into their product and service offerings. This demand is creating higher company valuations, and driving yearly deal volume in the IoT sector up to record levels.