There had been rumours in the past of LinkedIn seeking strategic partners or an acquirer, with several technology companies being the possible 'one'. Yesterday saw the news that the successful one will be Microsoft.
My initial thought is I hope this has positive results for many of the areas that LinkedIn seems to be falling short on with technology and that Microsoft does not allow this purchase to squander or suffer like it has with Skype and other poor past acquisitions.
The challenge with any merger, big or small is the merging of leadership styles and cultures. Everything said initially is for the benefit of the stakeholders - investors, employees and users. The reality rolls out differently over the coming months, after all the deal does not close until the end of 2016, so don't expect any wholesale changes until well in to 2017.
Naturally this was big news in the business world and a lot has been said, with much more to be said over the coming days and weeks. I have collected a few thoughts from the main parties involved as well as some social media, social selling and LinkedIn experts, here is what they had to say;
Reid Hoffman - CoFounder LinkedIn
Personally, I could not be more excited about what lies ahead. With LinkedIn, I’ve been through a number of re-founding moments – from the start of the company to bringing Jeff on-board. I believe we have found the ideal partner for our next chapter. When I co-founded this company 13 years ago, I imagined where we could go. I could not be more proud of what the LinkedIn team has achieved or more bullish about what we will achieve together with Microsoft in the years to come.
Read full Pulse post by Reid by clicking here
Jeff Weiner - CEO LinkedIn
Given our ability to operate independently, little is expected to change: You'll have the same title, the same manager, and the same role you currently have. The one exception: For those members of the team whose jobs are entirely focused on maintaining LinkedIn's status as a publicly traded company, we'll be helping you find your next play. In terms of everything else, it should be business as usual. We have the same mission and vision; we have the same culture and values; and I’m still the CEO of LinkedIn.
Read Jeff's full message to employees by clicking here
Satya Nadella - CEO Microsoft
Given this is the biggest acquisition for Microsoft since I became CEO, I wanted to share with you how I think about acquisitions overall. To start, I consider if an asset will expand our opportunity — specifically, does it expand our total addressable market? Is this asset riding secular usage and technology trends? And does this asset align with our core business and overall sense of purpose? The answer to all of those questions with LinkedIn is squarely yes. We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations.
John Nemo - LinkedIn Riches Program
I love this deal for many reasons. Chief among them is the fact that LinkedIn now has what amounts to an open wallet to flesh out its ambitious plans and expand its empire as the world's biggest "professional" social media network. As Weiner noted: "Imagine a world where we're no longer looking up at Tech Titans such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, and wondering what it would be like to operate at their extraordinary scale -- because we're one of them." Also, it's key to remember that LinkedIn's intense desire to outgrow its reputation as just a "jobs" or "career" website.
Kurt Shaver - Social Selling Trainer
It’s Mostly About Beating Salesforce.com. At it’s core, this deal is about competing with Salesforce.com in the CRM space. Most CRM market share studies put Salesforce.com at No.1 with around 18% of the market followed by SAP, Oracle, and MSFT at around 6%.
Viveka von Rosen - LinkedIn Trainer
I’ve talked to many of my Silicon Valley friends and most think this is a great move. It buys LinkedIn more resources… and my hope is that means we’ll get many of those great services we have lost over the years back! (Signals and Update Analytics anyone?) Maybe a better CRM? Maybe MS will buy SalesForce too and we can have one big giant happy package for a low low price (a girl can dream you know!) Also, my guess is that LinkedIn will start building its User Interface first on the Microsoft platform and THEN on Apple 🙂
Donna Serdula - LinkedIn Trainer & Speaker
It's a great marriage: Microsoft provides the productivity and cloud tools to power businesses while LinkedIn connects the businesses and people together. I am excited by this acquisition and can't wait to see what the future holds for LinkedIn.
Read Donna's full post by clicking here
Erik Qualman - Speaker & Author
Will this acquisition be similar to Google and YouTube or more like Microsoft and Nokia? Either way, it’s sad to see one of the pillars of social media get gobbled up. While I will personally profit in the short term: I'm a heavily invested in LinkedIn, have several friends that are LinkedIn employees so I am happy for them, and I have a new book coming out in six weeks: How to Sell on LinkedIn...in the long term this could be bad for everyone involved. As one of the first one million users of LinkedIn I certainly hope that I'm wrong.
Phil Gerbyshak - Social Selling Speaker
All in all, I see this as a HUGE positive for LinkedIn AND Microsoft - if and only if they get back to their basics, of serving business people relevant information, tools and information. If the goal is to turn LinkedIn into Facebook, they will LOSE!
Greg Cooper - LinkedIn Consultant & Trainer
It's possible that there will be very little downside. Some critics have voiced reservations that LinkedIn will no longer be vendor neutral but the Google Plus platform was designed from the outset to create and promote a Google product ecosystem. Whilst Microsoft will clearly be keen to use LinkedIn as a platform to sell their products this will need to be done suitably subtly otherwise it could prove to be counterproductive. Nor would it make sense for Microsoft to close the API to Salesforce and risk upsetting corporate accounts. Arguably the big losers from this announcement will be Facebook and Google.
Mahesh Murthy - Tech Investor and Commentator
The world's eyes have been on Google, Facebook and Twitter and their numbers. And amidst all this consumer excitement has stood the quiet 400-million strong base of LinkedIn users. Today that gets activated, in a way that LinkedIn perhaps could never do all by itself. I believe this merger is great news to not just both the companies - but also to the hundreds of millions of us on this platform.
Read Mahesh's full piece by clicking here.
And if you happened to have LinkedIn shares, and bought them anywhere below Monday's opening price, have an extra brandtastic week!