Congratulations on the $26.2 billion deal with Microsoft. Whether through funny memes on Twitter, Harvard Business Review suggesting advice or The New York Times analyzing the deal, commotion about this acquisition has taken over the Internet. In his CNBC interview, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes this deal as a merger between “the world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network” with similarly aligned goals: to connect and empower professionals and organizations. As LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner assured after the acquisition, this is not an end game but a “next play.” I also believe that the acquisition has a great potential to be a mutualistic relationship that can benefit both companies as well as us millennials.
Growing up, we were known as the digital generation. From using sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in high school to transitioning to LinkedIn once our professional careers began in college, we have been engaged with technology all our life. However, as applications like Facebook and Snapchat go through frequent updates and remodels, the LinkedIn interface has essentially been stagnant for the last few years. For those who fully understand and take advantage of the services offered, like influencers and job recruiters, LinkedIn can be extremely useful. However, for the average LinkedIn user and millennials like myself, LinkedIn seems like a less intuitive version of Facebook that solely showcases our resumes and professional achievements. Most average users do not understand the potential outreach and the ways to stay in touch with connections that LinkedIn can provide.
In an email released to the public, Jeff Weiner stated, “[Satya Nadella’s] vision was to operate LinkedIn as a fully independent entity within Microsoft, a model used with great success by companies like YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp.” Prior to this deal, as seen in the graphs above, LinkedIn was in a slump that reflected in stock prices and Microsoft, according to Harvard Business Report, had overpaid for acquisitions like Skype, Nokia and aQuantive. This deal has enormous potential if Microsoft and LinkedIn work collaboratively rather than autonomously. Microsoft could help LinkedIn integrate products like BING and Lynda.com into LinkedIn’s interface, create an interview service through Skype and build a custom Newsfeed stream similar to Facebook’s. Microsoft could capitalize on LinkedIn’s high networth user-base to sell products, accommodate an MSN log-in and generate a CRM integration of LinkedIn contacts using Microsoft Dynamics.
This is an opportunity for collaboration to fabricate disruption in the cloud and social market. By blending two leading professional companies with similar goals, you have the ability to blur the lines between personal and professional social media platforms. Microsoft and LinkedIn have the capability to become the first professional social network that enables true enterprise workflow and connection. Take advantage of it.
A Hopeful Millennial