So Microsoft has bought Linkedin. What does this mean for us? Love it or hate it, we all use Microsoft, and many of us have come to rely on Linkedin as an important resource these days. We join its groups, look to its advertising opportunities, its ability to drill down by job title and zip code, look to it to make business connections. Yet it seems like an odd pairing. The question on everyone’s mind, of course–what does it mean for us?
Bigger is better; it opens up new resources
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner noted that his social media company would:
- Be able to leverage Microsoft’s 1B+ customers to scale the reach and engagement of the platform.
- Collaborate with Microsoft on enterprise solutions for business intelligence distribution and collaboration
- Allow its sponsored content advertisers access to Microsoft users.
Industry reaction has been mixed
- Some people think LinkedIn’s functionality will improve with the integration of MS Office applications.
- Others (as am I) are concerned as to the access to data that Microsoft will have.
- Advantages of accuracy. By being able to combine Microsoft’s consumer data with LinkedIn’s user-submitted content, LinkedIn could make personal information on LinkedIn users more accurate, while Microsoft might have access to more accurate information when marketing to those users.
- There are concerns that integrating LinkedIn with Microsoft may diminish LinkedIn’s core purpose as a B2B social network: If too many changes are made to the platform, users might not find it as valuable from a social media standpoint.
- If you’re paying attention, LinkedIn has evolved into a robust platform for professional development and an indispensable intelligence and outreach tool for sales.
- The integration of the LinkedIn newsfeed with Microsoft platforms means mean broader advertising opportunities and potentially new kinds of targeting.
- One analyst sees Microsoft using this acquisition to reimagine their efforts in CRM.
- Will Microsoft’s management expertise make LinkedIn more profitable—they’re putting $26B on the table that they can.
On the positive side . . .
- It’s easy to imagine LinkedIn getting integrated into Microsoft’s CRM offering and Office 360
- LinkedIn’s InMail could plug directly into Outlook email, making it easier to reach people via InMail, while contact files in Outlook tagged as LinkedIn connections could make it easier to add new LinkedIn connections via a single click.
Many are betting that Microsoft will let Linkedin operate autonomously—at least for now
Yet if that’s the case, why did they shell out $26B to buy the company? Ask anyone who’s been through a merger and they’ll tell you that this theory is ridiculous. Microsoft sees revenue growth potential, not just something to help them sell Windows or Surface tablets. And Linkedin? Unlimited opportunities. This one will be interesting to watch.
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