It all started, as most Second Life things do, with Woodbury University.
Specifically, with the dethroned Czarina of Woodbury, Jordan Bellino/”Tizzers Foxchase”, tweeting the following:
A little birdie told me that Microsoft may have silently offered to buy Linden Lab this week. #secondlife
At which point, the proper response is to shake your head and think “Oh, you kids!”
Then Tateru Nino weighed in. Ms. Nino, who recently was the Second Life reporter for Massively (but no longer no doubt to MASSIVE DRAMA or possibly a total lack of interest in Second Life drama amongst people looking for updates on the latest Free2Play title from Asia) posted the following on her blog:
People are talking about a rumour that Microsoft has made an offer on Linden Lab.
Funny as that might seem on the face of it, a small number of Linden Lab staff are today spreading the story that Linden Lab is now entertaining offers for sale, and that Microsoft has actually presented one.
For Microsoft’s part, I doubt that it could care less about Linden Lab, but might be willing to make an offer to stop certain competitors making that purchase.
As yet, there isn’t any confirmation from Linden Lab as to whether the information being given by its staff is correct.
Update: Linden Lab responded to my query, and has declined to proffer any confirmation or denial.
So, you know, given that Tateru Nino is actually something approaching a real reporter who asks people things, this could actually be happening, and we could have been told this first from someone whose chief claim to fame is stencilling “BAN PROK” in chalk on the walls of Linden Lab’s office. So, um, yeah. The only way this could get any weirder is if Derek Smart decides to toss in a bid. Which, you know, could still happen.
Update: ZDnet follows up on the Microsoft side (h/t Raevhen) with this nugget:
Microsoft isn’t commenting on the Linden Lab report, but I’ve been asking around and hear from my sources that Microsoft may have made overtures not only toward Linden Lab, but other social-gaming vendors lately. The word from my sources is the Softies are not simply talking partnerships; they’re talking outright purchase.
Well, then. Strange days.