Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn and bolster social media presence
On Monday, June 14, 2016, Microsoft announced its plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of this calendar year and both companies expect the merger to enhance their growth and competitive position within the business sphere. LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, will retain his role, and report to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella. Microsoft says LinkedIn’s unique brand and culture will remain intact despite the purchase, and that the companies will unite around their common goal: to empower professionals across the world to achieve more.
What will result from Microsoft’s decision to acquire LinkedIn?
Nadella and Weiner predict the deal will open new doors for both companies. Microsoft has made a few attempts in recent years to incorporate social networking into its productivity software, but these efforts have proven to be less fruitful than expected. In 2012, Microsoft bought Yammer, a feature of its business-centric Office 365 platform, but has encountered significant competition from rival products such as Slack, a cloud-based messaging and collaboration tool.
The working world is divided between the tools employees use to do their jobs, such as Microsoft Office 365, and the social networks used to connect professionals, said Nadella. Microsoft plans to bridge this gap and provide useful ways to incorporate social media information into every-day business interactions. One of the major ways Microsoft plans to achieve this is through the integration of LinkedIn data with Microsoft’ Cortana, a voice-controlled virtual assistant comparable to Apple’s Siri.
The deal will connect the more than 1.2 billion Microsoft Office users with LinkedIn’s 433 million members, allowing consumers to utilize social networking in business like never before. LinkedIn hopes the acquisition will change the direction of its previously decelerating growth, and Microsoft sees the social media platform’s high percentage of mobile users as an opportunity to strengthen its own mobile standing with consumers.
Why did Microsoft acquire LinkedIn?
Microsoft has big plans for its new relationship with LinkedIn, which will position the networking tool as less of a social media platform, and more of an online operating system. Nadella envisions a future where business sales, training, and partnerships are enhanced by the abundance of data available via LinkedIn’s network. He anticipates the moment when Microsoft’s Cortana will inform a user of everything they need to know before an initial meeting with a business contact. Imagine a world where Cortana will immediately provide details regarding shared interests, mutual contacts, and talking points pulled from the endless flows of information available in LinkedIn without any effort from the end-user. These capabilities will allow professionals to build more solid relationships with clients, coworkers, and partners, and improve communication across the board.
Outlined below are a few of the capabilities Microsoft plans to facilitate with its LinkedIn integration:
- Combining LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM to assist in sales prospecting. A business sales representative that’s using Microsoft’s combination of its Dynamics software and Sales Navigator will be able to aggregate relevant background information on potential clients when managing client relationships.
- LinkedIn profiles, including user resumes, endorsements, school background, and more will be visible in Office, Outlook, and Skype.
- LinkedIn will develop a smarter newsfeed, customized to the user’s Microsoft Office calendar. For example, displaying articles for a project a user is working on, or recommending the user connect with an expert to help with a task in progress.
- LinkedIn bought Lynda.com in 2015 and Microsoft plans to incorporate Lynda’s instructional videos into its own software.
- Microsoft will have access to LinkedIn data, allowing Cortana to serve as a more customized digital assistant for users.
These are just a few of the possibilities generated by the agreement, and consumers are eager to see the finished product. Some question the value of the $26.1 billion deal. However, LinkedIn is essentially an online depository for a host of resumes and other relevant information Microsoft considers invaluable to its future in the business sphere.
While Microsoft is reaching toward offering integrated tools by this acquisition, Aldridge seeks to manage your IT infrastructure by providing Office 365 migration services and consulting to ensure your business has everything it needs to maintain a competitive edge in today’s ever-evolving technology environment. Contact a firm representative today to learn more about what Office 365 can do for your organization.