Mind you, before you start thinking “but that’s not a lot of money, right?”, you’ve got to consider that this offer didn’t come in just yesterday. News of it, however, DID just come in TODAY via LeWeb over in Paris, where at “How to get acquired,” one of the many panels held at the conference, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Strategy and Acquisitions Fritz Lanman spoke in reply to a question host Loic Le Meur. The question was one concerning a rumor started in the book “The Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatrick saying Microsoft tried several times. Turns out that’s true -at least part of it.
Replying to the rumor, Lanman noted “Yeah we tried to acquire Facebook. Facebook had a lot of similarities to Microsoft back in the day.” And went on to say that their original offer was somewhere around $15 billion around the year 2007. In the book The Facebook Effect, it’s written that Ballmer asked Mark Zuckerberg directly, “Why don’t we just buy you for $15 billion?” To which Zuckerberg replied, “I don’t want to sell the company unless I can keep control.”
The book continues by saying, “Ballmer took this reply as a sort of challenge. He went back to Microsoft’s headquarters and concocted a plan intended to acquire Facebook in stages over a period of years to enable Zuckerberg to keep calling the shots. But Zuckerberg rejected all the overtures.” Eventually Microsoft ended up agreeing on a $240 million small stake in the company, Facebook and they now working together in a search partnership.