Microsoft investments and acquisitions [InfoGraphic]

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Microsoft has come along way since the days of Windows 1.0 and even Windows 95. It wouldn't have been possible to grow so substantially without making some heavy investments and buying up the perfect startup companies.

Over the years, Microsoft has made some important investments including: Apple Computers, BestBuy, Nextel Communications, and many Internet service providers. Investments play a key role in startup companies to further expand their ideas and improve software and hardware systems everywhere.

Microsoft has also made a lot of bold and strategic acquisitions of companies, including: Hotmail, Groove Networks, Rare, and of course their latest takeover, Skype. One of Microsoft's bigger purchases in the last few months has been Skype; an Internet phone software company that provides free calling from computer-to-computer, and even supported mobile devices running Skype.

The InfoGraphic, provided by Ripetungi, show just how many investments and acquisitions Microsoft has made over the past decade. The motive behind any acquisition is to further your own products and integrate them into your existing software or hardware. It will be interesting over the next few months to see where Microsoft is headed with their latest Skype purchase.

You can view the full InfoGraphic here, but be warned it's a fairly large file (1.9MB).

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