Details of failed Microsoft Facebook buyout emerge

Executive divulges details of failed buyout

Software behemoth Microsoft originally planned a buyout of social media network Facebook in 2007 before eventually deciding to invest instead, a top executive for the company has claimed.

Speaking at the Le Web conference in Paris this week, senior director of corporate strategy and acquisitions Fritz Lanman described how the takeover deal slipped out of Microsoft's grasp. He added that the acquisition was initially set to be a $15 billion (£9.5bn) takeover, but instead ended up being a $240 million investment, largely because Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was unwilling to relinquish control.

According to TechCrunch, Lanman said: "[Microsoft CEO Steve] 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."

Acquaintances become friends

Microsoft and Facebook enjoy a less tumultuous relationship today. Facebook has recently been added to the Bing search engine, while a web-based version of Microsoft Word named Docs.com is currently available to Facebook users.

Facebook has also recently embraced former rival MySpace. Last month, the two companies announced that they are to team up to allow their users to share content.

Mashup with Facebook lets MySpace users create their own personalised information stream gathered from their likes and dislikes on Facebook. MySpace CEO Mike Jones described the move as an exciting development.

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