Microsoft also took a look at buying the OTT messaging vendor WhatsApp before Facebook paid US$19 billion for the company.
In an interview, Microsoft's former Chairman, Bill Gates confirmed that Microsoft would have been willing to buy WhatsApp, although he wasn't sure if they would have been willing to pay as much as Facebook had.
Nonetheless, he described the company as "extremely valuable".
He also agreed that Google had been eying the firm, although he didn't elaborate on that.
A deal by Microsoft would have probably seen WhatsApp folded into the company's Skype platform, giving it instant access the VoiP platform that WhatsApp now says it is developing itself.
Other insights from the interview was an awareness that MS Office, and other assets that the company built more than a decade ago have lagged the move to mobile, and the company needs to do more in that area.