If you’ve not already seen, it was announced today (Monday 13th June) that Microsoft has bought professional social network LinkedIn for a whopping £18bn… cash!
Now I’m a massive fan of LinkedIn, especially for SME’s, as it gives you the opportunity to network on a mass scale without a huge time investment. However, it should be noted that before today’s deal, shares had dropped by more than 40% and LinkedIn reported an annual loss of $8m.
So why did Microsoft pay so much (they bought the shares at a premium of almost 50%) for a platform that has appeared, at times, to be struggling?
Here’s why this move makes so much sense to me.
Microsoft now has the opportunity to combine Office Live365, Skype, SlideShare, and LinkedIn into one system.
For those that don’t know, OfficeLive365 is the latest evolution of the classic MS Office set up. Included in the Premium package is Email, Cloud Storage Space, Skype, the typical Office programs, plus their mobile versions allowing workers to always have an office set up in their pocket.
Most people will have used the video call software at some point. Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for $8.5bn dollars to replace their own Lync platform. Microsoft has leant heavily on providing the software for businesses, promoting it as the premier way to allow meetings to happen across borders.
Bought by LinkedIn in 2012, SlideShare allows users to share slides/presentations over LinkedIn. Fully integrated into the social media site, it allows companies to share documents, PDFs, videos and webinars. SlideShare also provides users with the ability to rate, comment on, and share the uploaded content.
How Microsoft can utilise these tools
If Apple has become synonymous with creativity, then Microsoft has positioned itself to become even more so when it comes to effective business working.
The potential for this set up could allow businesses to seamlessly network, video conference, share work, pitch, and more without having to leave the office. If Microsoft develops it how I’d expect, LinkedIn will become a place where you can not only network and recruit, but do every part of business from lead generation to pitch.
This isn’t Microsoft investing in a social network.
This is Microsoft investing in their ability to save people time.