Microsoft had the opportunity to purchase Minecraft several years before they did. A new book from Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella suggests that the company were considering purchasing Minecraft, possibly as early as 2011, but chose not to go ahead with the sale.
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Microsoft did, of course, purchase Minecraft in mid-2014, but Nadella’s new book suggests they had the chance to purchase Mojang far earlier than that. According to Nadella, current Xbox boss Phil Spencer was pushing for the sale.
Nadella writes “Early in Microsoft’s relationship with Mojang, before I was CEO, Phil presented an opportunity to purchase Minecraft, but Phil’s boss at the time chose not to move forward.”
In a TV appearance in 2013, Minecraft creator Markus Persson said he wasn’t looking to sell, and has also suggested that despite multiple offers, it wasn’t until 2014 that Mojang moved to pursue a sale.
Microsoft’s offer could have come very early in the partnership between themselves and Mojang. Minecraft was first released in beta in 2010, and the two companies announced a partnership in Spring 2011, to develop an Xbox 360 version of the game. This could have been an opportunity for Microsoft to purchase Mojang, were it not for the former head of Xbox, Don Mattrick, who would have been Spencer’s boss at the time.