Last week news broke that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.1 billion:
For Microsoft, a big part of the deal is about being at the center of the business worker’s world.
While it has ceded the personal social graph to Facebook and others, it sees being at the center of the worker’s world as too important to miss. Microsoft had hoped its SharePoint would be the social hub for business, but has seen a lot of momentum in that area shift to Slack. Microsoft also bought Yammer, an enterprise social collaboration company, for $1.2 billion in 2012, but that acquisition has essentially gone nowhere.
LinkedIn’s know-how is also important for Cortana and its broader artificial intelligence aspirations. With this purchase, Microsoft is basically buying the company org chart for the whole world, which on its face seems a pretty good layer of data to build into any business-focused cloud product, from email to enhancing a customer relationship software to recruiting new employees.
“Microsoft wanted to get into human resources without having to get into payrolls,” said Ray Wang, an analyst with Constellation Research.
As I’ve mentioned many times on this site, Microsoft does not understand—nor do I think they will ever understand—consumers, so it’s good to see them refocusing on the business side of software and computing.
L2 Founder Scott Galloway keenly points out in this YouTube video “there’s only one B2B game in town and that’s LinkedIn.” Great point. So why don’t we have any other competitors in B2B social media space? Seems a great area to disrupt.
A software giant buying a B2B social network is like a cable company buying content producers. It just doesn’t sit right with me.
It’s be interesting to see how long I keep my LinkedIn account open before Microsoft does something to make me want to close it.