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Microsoft acquires Edtech startup Takelessons

A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the company had purchased TakeLessons, a start-up with a website where users can arrange paid online and in-person lessons on a number of subjects. The deal’s terms were not disclosed.

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The deal

The move demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to offering instructional information to individuals in general, not only in the corporate world. LinkedIn accounts for more than 6% of Microsoft’s income, with premium subscriptions that include access to LinkedIn Learning, which allows users to take online courses, accounting for a portion of that revenue.

LinkedIn differs from TakeLessons in that it provides live instructor-led individual lessons as well as live group classes. TakeLessons offers courses in a variety of consumer-oriented disciplines, such as music, languages, and the arts, whereas LinkedIn Learning, focuses on leadership, sales, and other business topics.

In a statement to CNBC, a Microsoft spokesman said, “TakeLessons is a unique, trusted online marketplace that connects diverse, competent, and verified teachers with students of all ages pursuing their objectives.”

“This purchase responds to the rising need for tailored hybrid possibilities and increases our product offerings to TakeLessons customers, a premier online learning platform,” says the company.


TakeLessons is a San Diego-based company that was formed in 2006. Crosslink Capital, Moore Venture Partners, SoftTech VC, and Triangle Peak Partners are among the investors.

“Hundreds of millions of people from all over the world have visited TakeLessons, and taken many, many million minutes of lessons — learning everything from STEM to Farsi, guitar to horseback riding, parkour, tennis, singing, and yes, even beefing up on Excel macros,” TakeLessons founder and CEO Steven Cox wrote on LinkedIn.

The epidemic of the coronavirus has enhanced online learning. Coursera stated earlier this year that Covid “advanced the market for online learning solutions” as it filed to become public. In the fourth quarter, the number of hours spent on LinkedIn Learning more than quadrupled year over year, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who told investors on a conference call in January.

Microsoft is continuously searching for new methods to expand the entire market for Office in order to boost its user base. Officials at Microsoft have identified “first-line employees” as a significant target demographic for its productivity software. However, Microsoft has made measures to make freelancers an additional potential growth target for Office and its other cloud/software products.

The Microsoft 365 freelancing toolkit, which is characterized as “a curated set of tools, templates, and best practices that help Microsoft clients establish, execute, and manage freelance programs at scale,” was launched by Microsoft in 2018. A SharePoint communication site template for onboarding, Teams instructions, Power BI for producing reports and dashboards, and Flow for automating workflows were all included in the toolkit. The toolkit was introduced in collaboration with Microsoft’s go-to-market partner, Upwork Enterprise, which offers its own compliance and freelance sourcing solution.