Report: Microsoft tried to buy image-sharing social network Pinterest

Surface Duo Pinterest
Surface Duo Pinterest (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Financial Times reports that Microsoft tried to buy Pinterest.
  • The deal didn't complete, and the talks have ended.
  • Pinterest grew by 100 million users throughout 2020.

Microsoft has a strange history with social media. The company currently owns the business-oriented social platform Yammer, as well as the much larger work-oriented social network LinkedIn. Microsoft was also trying to buy up Tiktok's US operations last summer.

According to a new report from the Financial Times (via Reuters), Microsoft was in talks to acquire Pinterest, which is currently valued at $51 billion dollars.

Like most social networks and tech companies, Pinterest saw its userbase swell throughout the pandemic, growing by 37% to 459 million monthly active users. Throughout 2020, the company grew by a record 100 million users overall, almost triplicating the firm's share price across the past year. Pinterest even lent its support to Microsoft's Surface Duo phone and was one of the few services to support Windows Phone natively back in the day. Pinterest is also available as a PWA from the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab).

Alas, according to the report, any potential deal fell through last year, and the two firms are no longer discussing possibilities.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

However, it is interesting that Microsoft seems to be intent on expanding its social networking aspirations. LinkedIn and Xbox both boast very vast monthly active user bases, but pale in comparison to some of the larger players out there. Those networks are also very sanitized and moderated, focused around a very specific topic. In some ways, Microsoft's lack of social media prowess has potentially shielded them from anti-trust investigations, as politicians around the world look into the impact social networks are having on society. But on the flip side, it puts Microsoft at a bit of a disadvantage for the future, as tech platforms and services become increasingly social.

Microsoft has had some high-profile failings in this area, arguably. Letting MSN Messenger die, which boasted 350 million monthly active users at its peak, and letting Skype flop into irrelevancy doesn't exactly speak positively of Microsoft's efforts in this very competitive consumer space. Still, it's intriguing to watch them express interest in companies like Pinterest and TikTok. It may be worth keeping an eye on Microsoft's movements in this area going forward.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Even with the flops, I personally like their products. Obviously in a minority, I used Windows phone, used Skype primarily with family and friends, now teams. Not a smooth ride, but for some reason I like change.
  • Microsoft has hit the ball out of the park with Teams.
  • Social networking is poison, almost as much as advertising. Why on earth would a noble software company that makes products and services mar its re-built reputation by growing similar to Facebook and Google (the worlds' least ethical companies).
  • Money. When it comes to pleasing investors, money is the key. Granted, I agree with you. They should try to stay away from selling personal information as much as possible. We both know that ethics will always take a back seat when it comes to large corporations.
  • While lacking the social aspect, I find 'collections' in the Edge browser as a great way in pinning my interests.
  • Oh. I always ignored Pinterest as I thought it was a legit spam site. Microsoft dodged one there.
  • There is spam everywhere, but I've never thought Pinterest to be particularly bad in that area.
  • There are that many Pinterest users?! I thought it was like Yahoo. A dead platform.
  • Motley Fool just recommended Pinterest as a top stock capable of 10x growth over the next 5-7 years.
  • Aren't they trying to make Teams a hybrid business/social space with this Viva product they've just announced (not that I'm very clear on what Viva is or does, and that football advert done nothing to clarify its purpose). I guess it might make some sense for MS to try and get a social angle going on Teams. It is after all nothing more than a refined and cleaned up version of Skype, with some instant messaging and file sharing capabilities