Friday, September 19, 2014

Small Companies Bought by Huge Companies - the Death of Independence?

Yesterday I saw an announcement that a small video game firm called Mojang has been purchased by Microsoft.  My kids both love the game Minecraft, as do many of their friends, and it's a product of Mojang.  I had no idea that Mojang was such a lucrative company that they would attract the notice of a Goliath like Microsoft.

The original creator of Minecraft has also announced that he's leaving the firm as part of the Microsoft deal.  It's a bit of a sad thing that such a creative guy has to be cut off completely from the product that he created.  Of course, when he originally built it, he had no idea how popular it would become.  According to his own farewell statement, he's not been working on Minecraft directly for a while, but he's one of the original founders of the company.

When the big fish gobble up little fish like Mojang, it's a bittersweet thing for me.  In one sense, the purchase of your company by a larger one is a sign of great success.  It shows that you've built something of great value ($2.5 billion in this case).  In another sense, it's the end of an era for your company.  The culture of the firm will no doubt be absorbed by Microsoft now, especially since several key people are all leaving Mojang, including the Minecraft creator, as part of the deal.

While my own company is unlikely to be acquired by Microsoft, it does make me think about being in that situation.  Sometimes it's both good and bad to be as successful as Mojang apparently is/was.

Best of luck to "Notch" and all of the former Mojang folks in their future endeavors.

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