Microsoft said to be eyeing Netflix acquisition

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has joined an illustrious list of companies, including Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), that are said to be interested in acquiring DVD renter cum video streaming leader Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX). And thanks to that, Netflix's stock, which has been experiencing more peaks and lows than the Atlantic Ocean as Hurricane Sandy spins around, shot up by 13 percent on Friday.

The Microsoft acquisition rumor was ignited, for some reason, when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he would step down from the Microsoft board of directors, leading Forbes staffer Eric Savitz to suggest that "one potential reason for that news could be that Microsoft is thinking about buying Netflix." If that were the case, Savitz decided, "they certainly couldn't have Reed hanging around the Microsoft board trying to figure out how much to bid."

Since his initial speculation, Savitz added some more fuel to the rumors by noting that "buying Netflix would be in keeping with Microsoft's revamped philosophy on the Xbox 360, which treats the device more like an entertainment device and less like a video game console" and that "Microsoft has a record here on shopping for Web brands."

Microsoft ended up buying Skype for $8.5 billion and tried to snare Yahoo! as well.The value of either of those acquisitions--or acquisition attempts--has not yet been proven, and whether Microsoft is in the market for Netflix is just as much in question.

"[T]here are lots of reasons to think that a [Netflix] deal makes sense," Savitz wrote. "But whether there's anything more here than idle speculation… I have no idea."

At almost the same time, Netflix's fortunes were further buoyed by the news that HBO, expected to be a true Nordic thorn in the side with a competing streaming service, was delaying its launch in Finland. This comes just days--maybe a week--after Netflix completed its own launch in the region.

HBO, which usually stands with service providers when it delivers its HBO Go OTT service, was ready to stand alone in the Nordic region and go at it with Netflix. Word is there's been no new launch date set and, sounding like an airline with passengers at the gate, the company has given no reason for the delay.

For more:
- Forbes launched this speculation
- TechCrunch delivered this news

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