Several months ago, Microsoft and LinkedIn entered into an agreement in which LinkedIn would become part of Microsoft, with a price tag of $26 billion. After months of regulatory hurdles around the world, the acquisition has been approved and completed. This means that Microsoft finally has a successfully social network in its list of properties.
In the past, Microsoft has struggled to figure out its place in the social world. MSN had a social feature, which was rebranded to Live, and ultimately killed off. Then they accidentally announced a new network, so.cl, which was built around media. That platform, despite some really interesting features, never took off. All of these offerings failed because Microsoft tried reaching too far outside of their core business.
Microsoft is an enterprise company. The fact that you've got a Windows computer at home is an extension of the fact that people have Windows computers at work and wanted to maintain consistency more than a lot of marketing from Microsoft. With that in mind, LinkedIn is the perfect social platform for Microsoft, seeing as they are both focused around business. While Microsoft produces arguably the best cloud platform in Azure, LinkedIn produces the only real business-focused social platform - seemingly a perfect pairing.
In the coming months, we will see few major changes to LinkedIn as it is, though it would be nice to see a UWP-style visual overhaul in the future. Instead, what we will see is integrations between Microsoft products and LinkedIn. For example, LinkedIn will be coming to Azure Active Directory, allowing people to use their login to join or use other products. We will also see LinkedIn notifications coming to Windows, likely in the form of a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app.
Most importantly, LinkedIn will be coming to Office products. Imagine being able to update your resume in Word by refreshing data from your LinkedIn profile - no more managing double data. Or sending emails or LinkedIn messages to your connections without having to leave Outlook. We should hopefully also be able to see network activity on the person's contact in Windows/Office.
The company also has plans for LinkedIn's purchases, including Pulse and Lynda.com. Thy will be bringing together the Bing, MSN And LinkedIn Pulse brands, creating a "business news desk" that is built on top of MSN, with data from Pulse and searchable through Bing. In addition, Lynda.com, the online training platform, will be getting Office 365 support and Office 365 will be getting Lynda.com support.
Clearly Microsoft is not planning on treating this acquisition the way they have others in the past, such as Nokia. They have clear plans and have likely already begun to implement many during the transition period. I expect to see an official LinkedIn UWP app in fairly short-order, with other features coming in the Creators Update timeframe.
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