Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn for $26 billion. I frankly don’t understand this acquisition. What does Microsoft need with a social network? How is owning LinkedIn going to help Microsoft in its transition to a provider of cloud applications and services?
$26 billion is a lot of money, even for a company as big and rich as Microsoft. Surely they could have done something else with that pile of cash, like built another data center, or poured it into research on IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, or some other future-looking market segment that would tie in nicely to its present business model.
But a social network? Does Microsoft need to be in the advertising, content marketing, and job listing businesses? Does it really believe it can extract value from some synergistic voodoo between LinkedIn’s “community” and its own products and services?
Your Dad’s Social Network
What I do understand is why it bought LinkedIn as opposed to something like Twitter or Snapchat. Microsoft has never done “cool” or “stylish” very well, and its ownership would poison anything even remotely hip.
LinkedIn is a good cultural fit for Microsoft. Like Office365, LinkedIn is not a fun or happy place. It’s a boring, bland site where people go to do dull, grown-up things.
In fact, Microsoft and LinkedIn could share the same tag line: “It’s Monday, and you have work to do.”
There’s nothing wrong with that. We all need to be adults and do work. But it still doesn’t explain the business rationale for this acquisition.