• 08.10.09

Microsoft Sells Razorfish. What Will Happen to Surface Apps?

Microsoft has sold off its most reliable incubator for cutting-edge apps for its table computer Surface, leaving the future uncertain for how it showcases the platform.

In 2007, Microsoft shelled out $6 billion for AQuantive, and as part of the deal received the somewhat venerable online-ad agency Razorfish. The agency’s forward-looking focus on Internet advertising made it an ideal test shop for commercially-oriented table computing apps such as RFID-enabled business cards, which Razorfish branded as its own.


It also developed some not-so-commercially-oriented apps, such as this ring-toss game.

But no more. Late last night Bloomberg reported that Microsoft was selling Razorfish to the French ad conglomerate Publicis Group SA, which also owns the prominent ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi. The company is looking to expand its online prowess given the slump afflicting print and television advertising. Publicis is paying with $231 million in common stock and $299 million in cash, for a sum total of $530 million.

The division of labor between Microsoft and Razorfish for Surface apps isn’t clear, but with the firm gone, Microsoft will lose what was a cutting-edge branding tool for Surface. Redmond hasn’t said whether it will attempt to keep up relations with the ad agency for Surface development.

To see more of the Surface apps that Razorfish helped develop as a constituent of Microsoft, check out our video compendium of Surface apps here.

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs.