So Microsoft have gone and made an all-cash, $26.2 billion offer for LinkedIn and I can certainly see the logic. After acquiring Yammer not so long ago, they’ve now neatly secured the enterprise social media market – through owning two of the largest players – and have the opportunity to develop a unique integrated internal/external offering.
It’s also interesting that LinkedIn is going to be allowed to continue operating largely independently, and I for one think it’s a good thing… although it’s going to be challenging for LinkedIn to continue growing the network as they’ve already faced difficulties in this area. In part, those difficulties contributed to the overall decline of the share price and the recent profit warning – and that’s just allowed Microsoft to snap up a comparative bargain.
But LinkedIn have continued to make subtle changes to their service (not all for the best – I’m thinking about Unlisted Groups here!) and continue to look at broadening their user base. The sub-apps they’ve released over recent months and years, for groups and recruiting, as well as their support for self-publishing via LinekdIn Pulse, are testament to that innovation culture they clearly have.
However, it’s likely that the 100+ million monthly active users of LinkedIn and 45+ billion unique page views per quarter, are clearly stats that Microsoft couldn’t ignore. Everyone’s busy buying user data these days it seems, and this is a highly relevant, business-specific dataset which is very closely aligned with the core Microsoft offering.
Good luck to them I say. I think Microsoft has been much maligned over the years in the press and by the blogerati, but I actually think they’ve turned a corner with Satya Nadella at the helm. Office 365 is very good. OneDrive is improving (despite the reduction in free space offered and removal of the unlimited band). And Windows 10 is one of their best operating systems ever, in my opinion. It all just works. On multiple devices. And in an increasingly integrated and cloud-enabled way. So for that, I’m in support of this acquisition and will be keenly watching to see what comes of it.