So what are the intentions of Microsoft?
There are several options presented to Microsoft.
- Personal Assistant – Microsoft could plan to integrate their Cortana personal assistant software with the Linkedin ecosystem, in a similar way Apple have done this with Siri and Google with Google Now.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – They could build out Linkedin as a CRM tool for enterprise and small businesses, to compete with market leaders Salesforce.com
- Productivity Suite – Linkedin could become the source of new business for Microsoft’s latest business tools, such as their professional cloud, office and so on.
- Learning – Microsoft have already mentioned they see opportunities with Lynda.com, the online video training LMS platform. There are huge opportunities here, particularly around systems training, e.g. using Microsoft excel with help tutorials linking back from the cloud to Lynda.com training videos.
It’s all about the data…
As you can see, Microsoft has many options with the Linkedin acquisition. However, in my opinion, it’s all about the data.
All the major players in the technology industry know more about you than ever before. It’s actually quite scary how much. Software has become less important in recent years, now it’s more about the data.
Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have a lot of information about you. They are able to build this out and link back to their own product range. Google and Facebook of course are probably the most dominant, they are fighting over which app on your mobile phone you are going to touch to connect with others, or search for something. In doing so, they realise that they will ensure you remain in their ecosystem, link to their promotions and buy their products (or others that they get paid to promote).
As you can see in the image below, Microsoft hasn’t closed the loop in the social space like it’s rivals. In acquiring Linkedin, they have a huge opportunity to do so.
Recently, Facebook have improved their user experience, we have seen massive improvements in additional ‘like’ functionality, updates and personalised messages.
Microsoft doesn’t really have such an ecosystem in place, in acquiring Linkedin, they are now in the forefront to compete with Facebook and Google.