Microsoft acquires Flipgrid to bring video-based social learning to everyone

Credit Flipgrid

Credit Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a social-emotional learning system used by more than 20 million educators, students and families worldwide, according to Microsoft.

"Today, I'm incredibly excited to welcome Flipgrid to Microsoft", CEO Satya Nadella says in a video announcement.

Microsoft announced the acquisition today, though officials would not disclose the price or other details of the sale. The Minneapolis, Minn. -based company was founded in 2015. Now that Flipgrid is now part of Microsoft, the service has become free for all educators and students and Redmond will provide a prorated refund to every educator who upgraded in the past year.

In a statement about the acquisition, Microsoft reassures users that Flipgrid will retain its current identity: "Fans of Flipgrid can rest assured the Flipgrid they know and love, in joining Microsoft, will continue to grow and thrive across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems, all while retaining its distinct brand, culture and team".

One potential rub is that Flipgrid works well with the Chromebooks and Google services that now dominate the education market in the US and elsewhere. Moreover, Microsoft will be making the service completely free for schools, just like it's done for Office 365 Education.

Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president of education at Microsoft, said in an interview that Flipgrid will continue to be integrated equally well with Microsoft hardware as with competitors such as Chromebooks and iPads.

For many professors, the killer app of Flipgrid was to replace online discussion forums with video comments by students. It allows students to post videos on a grid similar to a Pinterest page around a topic posed by an educator or student. Instructors said that this helped better bring out the voices of students.

Microsoft has acquired education technology startup Flipgrid, Inc., and immediately announced that the subscription social learning platform will be free to all educators.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with additional comments from a Microsoft vice president.

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