I think everyone was surprised by this news. I’ve been collecting some “why would they do this?” reasoning for this week’s Software Defined Talk recording. But, that’s at the end of the week, so here’s my raw notes so far:
Slideshare, extended to all Office formats.
Login with LinkedIn + AD = SSO won.
Also: “Massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.”
- 433 million professionals in LinkedIn (from MSFT internal memo).
- …but it’s probably all the same people, tho.
- “Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes.” (MSFT CEO, from MSFT internal memo)
- Ads and dumb-AI context: “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. As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.” (MSFT CEO, from MSFT internal memo).
- LinkedIn growth since Dec, 2008: “Our team has grown from 338 people to over 10,000, our membership from 32M to over 433M and our revenue from $78M to over $3 billion.” (LinkedIn internal memo).
- Others from memo: Lynda training inline in MSFT apps; paid content in MSFT apps (a la Spiceworks); HR and recruiting.
Deal PR deck - pretty good. I can see how the social graph and all the “semantic web sit” in LinkedIn, crossed with MSFT assets works well.
One take on ads, doesn’t like the Office angle, cause privacy, but oh wait: Google Apps and GMail do that (or have the shadow-y threat of being able to do that) and we sort of are OK with it.
- It’s the 1 dataset MS can keep out of Facebook and Google’s hands.
“Microsoft could improve LinkedIn”: Microsoft designs for people who have to do boring things with computers in order to make money. It’s the 9–5 software vendor.
- Yammer and Skype - maybe LinkedIn people know what to do with those. (Microsoft doesn’t seem to divest of things too often, but those two would be nice to get rid of: or, finally fix Skype and have it be a proper messaging and voice platform, crossed with Yammer that competes with what Slack is becoming.)
Overall, it seems interesting. I like the idea of fixing up the parts of LinkedIn that are weird - esp. the activity feed which is a mess: they should have it be more like Nuzzel
, which Microsoft could also acquire.
My key deal rational synergies (“what does Microsoft hope to achieve?”):
- Microsoft now has a legit answer for “social.” It may not be the best, but it’s a $3bn answer.
- A bi-directional channel - Microsoft can sell more stuff into LinkedIn (a la how Spiceworks monetizes, as noted above), and LinkedIn can hustle Microsoft stuff more.
- Advertising and understanding users, in their professional life - Facebook knows everything about you, and now Microsoft would know everything about your 9-5 life (assuming you pump as much stuff into LinkedIn as people like I do).
- Identity - this usually turns out to be a fool’s errand; I’ve heard the theory of controlling identity management from the cloud FOREVER and nothing much comes of it. However, when coupled with ActiveDirectory and the install base of Windows, using LinkedIn as an identity has potential. Notice that it’s one of the built in identities/accounts you can add in OS X/macOS/iOS. No idea if so in Windows, but I bet so soon if not.
- Running cloud, esp. SaaSes - both companies have cloud competencies, now they have more.
Overall, it’s still weird - but it’s not dumb-weird.