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Microsoft looks to leapfrog Big Tech competitors with major acquisitions

Data: CB Insights; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Microsoft is trying to leapfrog competitors like Google and Amazon as they face record antitrust scrutiny.

The big picture: The deals Microsoft has been eyeing are larger than its usual targets and bigger than those of its competitors.


Driving the news: Microsoft announced Monday it would buy Nuance Communications, a software company that focuses on speech recognition through artificial intelligence, in an all-cash transaction valued at $19.7 billion (including debt assumption).

  • This is Microsoft's second-largest acquisition, behind the $26.2 billion deal for LinkedIn in 2016.

Microsoft tried to buy TikTok's U.S. operations last year in a deal reportedly valued between $10 billion to $30 billion. Reports suggest it's in advanced talks with gaming chat app Discord for a deal worth more than $10 billion.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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