Microsoft Acquires Learning Marketplace Start-up TakeLessons

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  • TakeLessons helps people sign up for online and offline courses on consumer-oriented topics, like playing musical instruments and speaking foreign languages.
  • The learning lineup differs from the business-centric content available from LinkedIn Learning.

Microsoft has acquired TakeLessons, a start-up with a website where people book paid online and in-person classes on a variety of subjects, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Friday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The move shows Microsoft remains committed to providing opportunities for people to find educational content, and not just in the business realm. More than 6% of Microsoft’s revenue comes from LinkedIn, and the professional networking platform generates part of its revenue from premium subscriptions that include access to LinkedIn Learning, through which subscribers can complete online courses.

LinkedIn is different from TakeLessons because it offers live training for private classes from instructors and live group classes. While LinkedIn Learning specializes in content on leadership, sales and other business subjects, TakeLessons has courses available on many consumer-oriented subjects, including music, languages and the arts.

Microsoft Acquires Learning Marketplace Start-up TakeLessons-Brand Spur Nigeria
Microsoft Acquires Learning Marketplace Start-up TakeLessons-Brand Spur Nigeria

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“TakeLessons is a unique, trusted online marketplace that connects diverse, qualified and vetted instructors with students of all ages pursuing their goals,” a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email. “This acquisition is in response to the growing demand on personalized hybrid opportunities and expands our product offerings to TakeLessons consumers, a leading online learning platform.”

TakeLessons was founded in 2006 and is based in San Diego. Investors include Crosslink Capital, Moore Venture Partners, SoftTech VC and Triangle Peak Partners.

“With the help and grit of the exceptional TakeLessons team, hundreds of millions of people from every corner of 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 in a LinkedIn post.

The coronavirus pandemic has benefited online learning. Covid “accelerated the market for online learning solutions,” Coursera said earlier this year as it filed to go public. And the number of hours people spent on LinkedIn Learning doubled year over year in the fourth quarter, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts on a conference call in January.

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