Today’s announcement that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for 26.2 Billion in cash is the best move to date by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO.
Microsoft’s primary success comes from business users. LinkedIn has 433 million users on its service… all business users. This move is a no-brainer. It is both an excellent offensive move as well as a great defensive move to prevent someone else from acquiring LinkedIn.
Think of LinkedIn as Facebook for Business. This is the “no-brainer” of acquisitions.
LinkedIn is trusted. Few people fake their experience on LinkedIn. In fact, most HR departments look at LinkedIn for resumes as they also include social proof of a person’s experience as noted by recommendations and endorsements for various skills. The connections a person has provide a built-in reference base. You can easily find your mutual links and do your own reference checks as a result.
Microsoft’s Skype for Business and Office 365 have huge potential benefits to gain from the acquisition.
Additional intelligence that can be gained for users is exemplified by plug-ins like Rapportive. I use this Google Chrome plug-in as it quickly helps me understand who a person is and how I may be connected to them when I receive an unidentified email or a known person recommends someone to me. Even if I am in Outlook on my Surface Book, it is worth a few seconds to drop the email into Gmail to see if Rapportive/LinkedIn knows the person. In seconds I can learn a little about the person and how we are/are not connected. Now Microsoft can integrate this level of intelligence in the Office. And Skype can truly be the connector for all business. Skype’s combination of video, audio and text across all platforms plus the intelligence of the LinkedIn network brings huge value with a variety of ways to make our lives better. It appears Microsoft is already thinking of ways to benefit users as it plans to sell more subscriptions and professional plans to the users of LinkedIn.
A few suggestions:
- Get rid of the artificial limit on the number of groups a person can belong to in LinkedIn. Free or paid, this has been an annoying limitation.
- Offer even tighter integration with Contacts in Outlook (on the PC, Mac and phone and tablet platforms) and the People app in Windows 10. (See BusyContacts on the Mac to get an idea of how it can be done very well.)
- Offer Calendar integration with Outlook on all platforms and the Windows 10 Calendar app. Meetings can be more effective with deeper contacts and calendar integration
- Integrate Skype deeply into LinkedIn… Contacts, Skype addresses, etc. Make Skype for Business my default business phone app (even more so than the actual phone). As our data plans get better and bandwidth gets bigger, our home and office networks get better and better. Skype for Business is a better and clearer phone than my phone. Skype for Business PBX capabilities will let me form office phone networks with real and virtual team members. And LinkedIn can be my PBX directory and Caller ID.
Microsoft also benefits by getting Lynda, a significant training resource that LinkedIn acquired. Microsoft just became the leading provider of training for all business applications. Want to win the hearts and minds of business computer users and the development and designer communities? Give them great training and even better tools to support their work.
There are many more benefits to discuss… A lot more will be written about this move. I believe history will show it to be strategically important for both Microsoft and LinkedIn. And I believe business users will benefit in many ways.
Brilliant move today Microsoft. Absolutely brilliant.