Don Dodge is a respected blogger, Microsoft employee, and all around good guy. If you want a good blog to read with respect to high level goings on at MSFT, his is a good choice.
In a recent post, Don had this to say about companies being bought by MSFT:
"Microsoft acquired 14 companies in 2005 and another 19 companies in 2006. At Microsoft we try to find the best startups early in the game and acquire them for reasonable prices. The average acquisition price was around $30M. There were some that were significantly more than that, but on average we try to stay in our sweet spot."
I appreciate the upbeat and positive tone of the entire post. I would encourage you to read but there are a couple of realities that I'd like to point out.
The numbers speak for themselves. Take the total number of companies that just Om Malik, TechCrunch, and whomever talk about and you'd have a large enough pool that lay out the odds of your being purchased by MSFT. Add in all the companies the venture capital world engages and that long shot purchase becomes even longer. Don does a good job laying out the what, why, how, how much, what MSFT cares about, etc, but the reality is: Long Shot, at best.
The second point is the sweet spot commentary. They, like Google, Yahoo, etc, all want to get companies early and 'cheap.' It means when you are millions and millions of dollars in, getting the 10x return becomes that much harder.
It also means, to you, watch the term sheets. High valuations with liquidity preferences, participation, etc, put you and your VC at potential odds when an offer comes in. If you and your financial partner have a huge gap in exit requirements, things can get ugly.
Finally, getting bought by Microsoft (or Google or AOL or Yahoo) is not an exit that anybody in the VC world would count on as the essential strategy. We don't fund something with that as our "in the bag outcome". Most VCs I know do the exact opposite; they factor one or more of the big guys as direct competitors.
I'd suggest you avoid, Microsoft will buy us as the sole answer to the exit question.
As I said, read Don's stuff for ways to get more out of Microsoft. More meaning code help, marketing/pr opportunities, etc. Just don't think there is a fast track to a Microsoft check.