In a move that caught the tech world completely off guard, Microsoft announced Monday that it was acquiring LinkedIn in an eye-popping $26 billion deal, making it the largest purchase in the software giant’s storied history. The move solidifies Microsoft’s position as a tech company that caters almost exclusively to professionals, with LinkedIn’s global membership hovering well over the 400 million mark.
So, what does the deal mean for the future of everyone’s favorite professional social network? In terms of optics, not much will change, as current CEO Jeff Weiner will continue leading the company. But over time, Microsoft will look to integrate its software into the network’s infrastructure. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella suggested that once incorporated with LinkedIn, the company’s digital assistant, Cortana, could change the way meetings are conducted.
“Cortana can wake up before you go into a meeting and inform you about all the people you are meeting for the first time and the connections you have with them,” he said.
In an internal memo to staff, Nadella further detailed the reasoning behind Microsoft’s surprise acquisition, explaining that Microsoft’s existing software will greatly benefit from access to LinkedIn’s expansive membership base. “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,” he wrote, adding that “new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”
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