Discord CEO Jason Citron. Photo by Discord, Art by Clark Miller
July 21, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

It could have been one of the biggest business blunders of the pandemic. In early 2021, Discord spurned a $12 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft, an eye-popping sum for a nine-year-old social communications startup whose app saw a tsunami of new users during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Around that time, Discord held acquisition talks, which didn’t go anywhere, with multiple other firms, including Twitter, according to someone with direct knowledge of the discussions.

But maybe rejecting Microsoft’s offer wasn’t such a boneheaded move on the part of Jason Citron, Discord’s CEO. Sure, the company’s audience—many of them gamers who use it to chat while they’re playing—isn’t growing at the same explosive rate it was when people were hunkering down in their homes. During the first quarter, Discord’s average monthly active users grew 21% to 183 million from 151 million in the same period a year earlier after growing 68% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the year earlier period, according to a current employee with direct knowledge of the figures.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive startups crypto
MoonPay CEO, Other Executives Cashed Out Before Crypto Business Dropped
In November 2021, just as crypto prices were hitting all-time highs, MoonPay—a crypto payments startup that celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton had praised for its non-fungible token “concierge” service— announced it had completed its first ever outside fundraising: an eye-popping $555 million round at a $3.4 billion valuation from investors including Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Photo by Bloomberg
semiconductors ai
Why Nvidia Aids Cloud Rivals of AWS, Google and Microsoft
Nvidia’s business of selling chips for artificial intelligence is going gangbusters, but the company faces a looming problem.
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo. Photo by Getty.
Exclusive startups Finance
Growth Wanes at Instacart, Gopuff
Grocery upstarts Instacart and Gopuff haven’t been able to deliver two things at once this year: growth and profits.
Tim Cook. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive apple ar/vr
Apple’s Learning Curve: How Headset’s Design Caused Production Challenges
If Apple unveils its long-awaited mixed-reality headset next week as expected, it will represent the company’s riskiest gamble on a new product since the iPhone.
Art by Clark Miller, Shutterstock (4)
Opinion ar/vr
Don’t Count the Metaverse Out
The technology hype cycle would have us believe that the metaverse—so recently the darling of digital trendsetters—is on the decline, its place usurped by generative artificial intelligence.
Adam D'Angelo photograph by Ko Sasaki. Art by Clark Miller
The 1:1 ai
Adam D’Angelo’s Endless Quest to Answer Everything
Adam D’Angelo is basking in an “ endless summer ” of artificial intelligence. A few weeks before he and 350 industry peers released a bizarre, one-line statement warning that AI could herald a nuclear-level extinction event, the 38-year-old co-founder of Quora told me he actually sees more upside in AI than downside.