I read the acquisition of LinkedIn as Microsoft still thinking they need to “solve social” in order to make money off advertising.
"It’s really the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network." In other words, we now work by toggling between our productivity software and our social networks. But why should the two be separate?
— Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO in the Wall Street Journal
This sounds like a reporter too impressed with a Microsoft PR flunky. I see no synergy, just an assumption that everyone who has a job uses MSFT products.
Microsoft is the same company (albeit with a slightly different management structure) as the one that messed up both MSN Messenger and Yammer (both 'networks' by the way). If they're viewing this as a way to get into CRM they'd have done better to echo the Microsoft of the 90's: use their limitless cash to ruthlessly release version after version until they finally get it right.
"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," says Nadella. 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."
— Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO in The Verge
With this strategy, Microsoft is offering to insert ads into your work applications. Users have been demanding the return of a helpful assistant like Clippy for years, and when powered by a social graph of ex-co-workers and recruiters, the possibilities are tantalizing.
Wait. The opposite of that.
Best case: Microsoft integrates LinkedIn into all it’s products, and LinkedIn becomes the defacto identity for the workplace. I give that about a 2% chance. More likely: LinkedIn will see no meaningful product development and will continue its steady decline. For Redmond’s sake, I hope I’m wrong, but this smells of a great exit for LinkedIn, and a shitty deal for Microsoft.
Naturally, all that's been announced is basically more advertising, and no new features for LinkedIn.