Microsoft Buys LiveLoop for Online PowerPoint Collaboration
A small startup whose plugin lets users share and edit PowerPoint presentations live online, has been acquired by Microsoft for an undisclosed sum. LiveLoop, based in San Francisco, enables real-time collaboration on PowerPoint documents without the need to download software.
No details were available on LiveLoop's Web site, which appeared to be experiencing server problems as of Friday morning.
The acquisition was first reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, who cited unnamed sources who confirmed the acquisition. We reached out to Microsoft and a spokesperson said in an e-mail, "We are excited to welcome the talented team from LiveLoop to help build great collaboration across Office applications, part of our strategy and vision to reinvent productivity."
Shutting Down in April
According to ZDNet, a notice appearing Thursday on LiveLoop's Web site said the company would be "shutting down permanently on April 24th, 2015." The notice also said the company was no longer accepting new user registrations or presentation uploads, and that all customer data would be permanently deleted on April 24.
An archived version of LiveLoop's Web site said the company's plugin "converts presentations into Web URLs that can be viewed from any computer or phone without installing any software." That allowed users to work together online on a single PowerPoint document in real time without having to join a GoToMeeting session or other collaboration site.
Backed by the venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Columbus Nova Technology Partners, LiveLoop was led by CEO Amal Dorai, a former business analyst at McKinsey & Company, and CTO David Nelson, who previously worked as a research scientist at Xerox. (Dorai also made headlines in 2005 when, as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he organized a convention that invited potential time-travelers from the future to attend; none did.)
Pushing for 'Mobile First'
Microsoft has made a couple of other acquisitions recently aimed at expanding its offerings, especially for its "mobile first" push. In December, it purchased the e-mail app startup Acompli for a reported $200 million. And last month, it announced its acquisition of Sunrise, which provides a calendar app for iOS and Android devices.
"This is another step forward on our journey to reinvent productivity and empower every person and organization to achieve more," Rajesh Jha, Corporate Vice President for Outlook and Office 365, said upon announcing the Sunrise acquisition. Together with the company's new touch-optimized universal Office apps for Windows 10, expected to be released this summer, the acquisitions "exemplify Microsoft's ambition to rethink the productivity category."
The "universal" apps for Office, which will be pre-installed on new mobile devices that run Windows 10, are being designed to enhance productivity for mobile users. They include touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.