From Microsoft’s lowly beginnings in Albuquerque in 1975, it has grown into the multinational, new-media-eating monster of the 1990s. Slow to discover the profit potential of the Internet, Microsoft embarked in 1996 on a spending spree unprecedented in the industry, swallowing Internet software and technology companies, and aligning itself with Internet media creators of all kinds, in a high-stakes game of catch-up.
The goal: to control the future of information delivery. Not only does Microsoft have most Netizens’ desktops, it now has a piece of the wires on which their data travels from computer to Internet, with its $1 billion investment in Comcast’s cable modems and its acquisition of WebTV. Today Microsoft is influencing the very ways that data is exchanged on the Net, the ways it’s presented, viewed, created, and distributed.
But why stop there? In the ever-expanding world of new media, why be satisfied with owning the technology that moves information around? Why not own the information itself? After all, there are advertising dollars and subscription fees to swoop on. In November 1996, Microsoft formed an Interactive Media Group which is now flooding the Web with Redmond-copyrighted content through a slew of Web sites under the Microsoft Network umbrella. It’s also developing a new search engine to compete with the likes of Yahoo, and a new home page to battle America Online.
Here the MoJo Wire presents a graphical primer to the Web world of Microsoft: Click on the company names to see their connections.
The Microsoft Media Map does not show the entire Web world of Gates, Allen, and Microsoft; we’re sure we haven’t found it all, and it gets bigger every day. E-mail your tips for additions or changes and we’ll include them in an ongoing update.