Churn, churn, churn (as the song might have said)

The last couple of days have seen rumours flying around concerning Microsoft making an offer on Linden Lab. I was pointed towards the rumours when a friend asked me if I’d seen Tateru Nino’s personal blog post on the matter;  I held off commenting, because on the one hand, the idea really did seem absurd – as some of the comments on that post point out. Ciaran Laval also did some digging, and it appeared that the matter might be all down to wicked rumour-mongering.

However, from Tateru’s blog (again) it appears the an offer may well have been made – and rejected – although not necessarily from Microsoft. As Hamlet points out, offers within the tech industry are not uncommon and don’t necessarily mean an acquisition is going to be forthcoming.

To be sure, an offer from Microsoft would both be hard to rationalise – and yet make a degree of sense. In the case of the former, it is hard to see what value MS would get out of SL as a platform in and of itself – it is barely cutting edge, it has more issues than any of us can safely shake a stick at and would be a nightmare to “turn around”, with little in the way of technology benefits that could be stripped from it. But the flip side to this is that MS has been very active elsewhere in the OpenSim environment  – so it might be argued that had they made an offer, the aim might well be to simply close SL and use the acquisition to become a dominant force in shaping the future direction of OpenSim through the use of LL’s existing “expertise”. But even given this viewpoint…it’s hard to see MS really benefiting to the degree that would warrant the investment…

If Tateru’s sources are right and it was someone other than MS, then further speculation as to who and why is pretty pointless until further information comes to light. What is important is that it appears to have been rejected by LL – which suggests that the company either a) has a robust belief in its own survivability and return to full profitability without the need for any buy-out, or b) the offer simply wasn’t big enough…

Certainly, as Hamlet rightly cautions – offers and sniffing are not uncommon in the technical industry – or even limited to it. I’ve worked in publishing for a long time, and when employed by small house publishers, a month rarely seemed to go by without one of the major Houses showing interest and sniffing around at “potential” options for purchase. That said, however, such sniffing would help put into perspective some of the more robust – if not subtly aggressive statements – Philip Rosedale (and others) have made about LL’s financial status in recent months; certainly his comments at SL7B when he “returned” to LL as CEO and his comments at SLCC 10 struck me as being more than merely attempts to calm troubled waters. Given this, I’m hoping that if an offer was made and rejected, then it is because of option (a) above.

While it is true, and others have commented, that the “killing” of LL would not slay the “vision” of SL – I personally would rather stick with the devil I know for the time being, rather than finding myself uprooted and forced to move elsewhere…

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