It’s Microsoft’s most ambitious move yet into the world of social tools: The software giant announced Monday morning that it would purchase professional social network LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion.
According to a statement from Microsoft, LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence—no doubt an attractive proposition for Jeff Weiner, who will stay on as LinkedIn’s CEO and report to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
“It’s not just about sitting back and reacting to this,” Weiner said in a joint interview that accompanied the release. “Satya has said time and time again, you guys have to help write the rules here, we’re going do this differently, you’re going to have your independence, we have the shared sense of alignment, so lets dream big, lets think about what’s possible—and that’s going to be first principle.”
As Nadella told CNBC’s Jon Fortt on “Squawk Alley” yesterday, the two executives have been talking for months, with the conversation really picking up in February.
Via a CNBC transcript:
LinkedIn by itself is a multi-sided market. There’s LinkedIn membership and the LinkedIn member, along with the Office 365 usage because these professionals are using Office 365 on one side, and LinkedIn on the other side. That’s one massive opportunity for us to increase engagement on both. Think about the other side of LinkedIn. It is about higher market sell and learn. That’s all business process. That’s a huge opportunity for us to integrate and expand into business processes with dynamics. So, those are the two sides that are both crown jewels of LinkedIn, but really, it’s about putting them together with the crown jewels of Microsoft. That is Office 365 and our cloud. That’s what’s sort of super exciting.
Nadella and Weiner went on to offer specific examples of how meshing LinkedIn’s 433 million members with Microsoft’s professional cloud will benefit professionals in a conference call with investors. Time contributor Kevin Kelleher summarized a few:
LinkedIn could give Microsoft’s productivity software the social-network piece it’s always lacked, while Office and Outlook could make it easier to keep your LinkedIn profile updated. LinkedIn’s newsfeed could draw on, say, your Calendar schedule to become more engaging, which could in turn boost its ad revenue. Cortana could scour your LinkedIn network to create a quick brief about who’s attending your next meeting. The core idea is to draw on more data to boost productivity and make both LinkedIn and Microsoft more essential to the workday.
As Bloomberg News writers Sarah Frier and Adam Satariano pointed out, the deal, which is being touted as one of the largest technology-industry deals on record, is a way for Microsoft, a company that failed to capitalize on the consumer Web boom (unlike Google and Facebook), to get ahead in social tools—or in the case of the LinkedIn acquisition, social tools for professionals.
Weiner is excited for the next chapter in his company’s story. In a message to his team, Weiner encouraged employees to “imagine a world where we’re no longer looking up at Tech Titans such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and wondering what it would be like to operate at their extraordinary scale—because we’re one of them.”
Those paying attention know that LinkedIn's 2016 wasn't off to the best start. According to Yahoo!, in early February the company told Wall Street that its revenues would grow slower than expected this year. “Its shares lost nearly 14 percent of their value this year up through Friday,” the news outlet reported.
It’s too early to know just how everything will play out, but Print+Promo wants to hear from you: What are your feelings on Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn? How do you think the deal will affect your business or the way you use LinkedIn? Sound off in the comment section below.