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Why did Microsoft buy LinkedIn?

James Henderson | June 15, 2016
Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is an acquisition of professional convenience.

“And then lastly, a publishing platform that facilitates the sharing of professionally relevant knowledge between individuals, companies and universities to the extent they’re interested in doing so.”

Going forward, Weiner said the goal is to “take a step back” and to allow capital, all forms of capital, intellectual capital, working capital and human capital to flow to where it can best be leveraged and in so doing help transform and lift the global economy.

Illustrating potential - Office 365

When delving into how the usage of Office 365 and LinkedIn will help drive greater engagement on both sides of the acquisition, Nadella started with the “most obvious” example, centred around the concept of profile.

“LinkedIn essentially becomes the social fabric across all of Microsoft, whether it’s in Outlook, in Excel, or Skype, or PowerPoint, or Word, or SharePoint,” he said.

“Now you have the ability whenever you’re looking up a contact not only to see that contact with the information that’s contained in Active Directory, but you can get at the full richness of their information in the professional network.

“And who are all the others in their professional network. So that’s sort of what we mean by the social fabric of your digital work and Office 365.”

Another scenario, as Nadella explained, is the newsfeed, the fastest growing engagement part of LinkedIn.

“Imagine that feed being informed even by the projects you’re currently working on, the calendar information, essentially all the meetings into the next month that you have,” he said.

Nadella said the relevance of that feed, in utilising Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology from Microsoft, represents an ongoing opportunity for the vendor, tapping into one of the fastest growing businesses in LinkedIn.

“Of course, the next one is Cortana,” he added. “Just imagine you’re walking into a meeting and Cortana now wakes up and tells you about the people you’re meeting for the first time, but tells you all the things that you want to know before walking in and meeting someone, because it has access to the professional network.

“Cortana is about knowing everything about you, your organisation, the world and now the professional network.”

End-user benefits aside however, Nadella said the deal represents business process usage, through CRM, HR, talent management and learning.

Illustrating potential - Dynamics

Historically at LinkedIn, the company’s overarching value proposition has been focused around connecting to opportunity, a statement which rings true for both members and customers.

“But I’m going to turn now towards customers,” Weiner added. “And historically it’s been about several different areas of focus, hire, market, sell and learn.”

Consequently, Weiner believes this combination has the opportunity to tap new addressable markets, creating a new level of differentiation in the marketplace.


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