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How to be a social professional – Microsoft buys LinkedIn

The latest big tech company take over is LinkedIn which is being bought by Microsoft for a staggering $26.2 billion in cash.

This acquisition of LinkedIn will be Microsoft’s biggest ever when it completes later this year, exceeding the $8.5 billion it paid for company Skype back in 2011 although it doesn’t have a great track record with acquisitions. It spent two years, for instance, trying to dig itself out from its $7 billion takeover of Nokia’s mobile telephone business and we are keeping our fingers crossed they learnt their lesson. It will be interesting to see what happens with Skype as LinkedIn were also rumoured to be looking to buy them when Microsoft completed the deal.

LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner continues to lead the company, but reports to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and becomes part of the Microsoft leadership – good for both parties perhaps?

LinkedIn will keep its “distinct brand, culture and independence” according to the press release which we think can only be a good thing as the platform is trundling along ok, and has good brand association with most business professionals, but there is a huge opportunity in the future for integration across both platforms which we explore later in this blog.

In his normal understated way LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said “This relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to change the way the world works” and it will be fascinating to see that transpire in real life.

We think the biggest thing is the potential for the future; some mentioned already, and some further predictions from us.

Microsoft’s CEO Nadella said in an email to employees that “This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete” but we think there might be much more potential than this.

Even in the press release there were examples of how Cortana could be used over an integrated Microsoft / LinkedIn platform to improve our personal efficiency and insight.

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Both Microsoft and LinkedIn “graph” out relationships between organisations, people and tools and they can see value in the overlay between the professional networks of LinkedIn and the tools of Microsoft Dynamics in particular.

“When you connect these two graphs, that’s when the magic starts to happen,” Nadella said. We just hope that the magic isn’t just more advertising revenues and cross selling opportunities for Office365 or LinkedIn upgrades, but there is bound to be a bit of both we suspect.

We started thinking more widely about the two platforms and how they could integrate. Given the history of LinkedIn integration across Outlook and Calendar, it would be an easy step to bring Outlook functionality and interface into LinkedIn, replacing the dreadful messenger “upgrade” to provide true personal information management (PIM).

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Then there is the “nuggets” already identified, the integration of LinkedIn with not just Salesforce but with Microsoft Dynamics, presenting profile, data insights and more into a comprehensive CRM – time to truly unlock CRM lead social selling perhaps?

Imagine a fully integrated Skype providing real time calling and keeping in touch with your LinkedIn connections from mobile or desktop? Fabulous huh?

Microsoft brings a huge cloud experience through storage, organisation and integration from Microsoft Office, Cloud, SharePoint and Office365. Imagine that content integrated into your profile and even dynamic content. Single sign on using your LinkedIn credentials to provide identification or even a unique Microsoft or Windows ID.

Our view is actually positive. Short term all stays as is but longer term the integration of some of the Microsoft family to LinkedIn and vice versa is a potentially exciting option.

What do you think?


6 thoughts on “How to be a social professional – Microsoft buys LinkedIn

  1. Colin Robbins

    I think the Outlook integration could go a lot further.

    One of the challenges in providing end-to-end secure communication is the need to access encryption keys. This challenge is often solved by a global directory. Until now, Microsoft has not had a real solution for a global address book, only address books at the enterprise level.
    Linked gives them the opportunity to create an integrate business to
    business capability enabling secure business-user to business-user communications.

    1. James Potter

      That is an interesting thought Colin, a sort of global directory facilitated through a LinkedIn profile, interesting thoughts. I had considered a single sign on type dimension but hadn’t extrapolated into end to end secure email. Here’s hoping they junk the messenger client and install Outlook in LinkedIn 🙂 Thanks for the comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  2. Jon Brinsmead

    Do I want a ‘Microsoft life’? Does this mean that I will also have a ‘Google life’? I sort of like the idea that my networking is vendor neutral but nothing is in the long run, I guess? Keen to learn what others think

    1. James Potter

      Dear Jon, I completely get where you’re coming from me too! Interestingly Google have traditionally advertised quite heavily inside LinkedIn (yet previously Microsoft hadn’t, perhaps this had been brewing for a while) so I think that neutrality is an interesting perspective. I am hoping (please!) that they don’t break something that works well if you use it well. Thanks for the comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  3. Neb

    If you believe that most of what Microsoft is doing is a good thing and that it works great – than, yes, good news. However, we all know how disastrous are all versions of Windows; how ridiculously “heavy” is Office and what kind of problems we are facing (if we are using) Outlook; how much Microsoft does everything only for their own benefit and with no regard for customers; than this news is one of the worst I have ever heard. In my opinion (I take Windows OS as a large virus) it is a disaster.

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