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MicroLink, LinkedSoft, Eh…Whatever
By: Mike Bush
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Let’s get past the immediate shock of Microsoft buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Yes, $26.2 billion is a lot of money. I mean…it’s a marathon of billions. Literally. But going beyond that, let's even try to move past the snark that comes with an acquisition like this.

For all you fans of schadenfreude, here’s a terrific example of the snark I’m referring to:
Microsoft and LinkedIn: finally, one company owns all the world's worst UX design.
— Patrick Coffee (@PatrickCoffee) June 13, 2016
Let’s address why this deal makes absolutely no sense, and then maybe play devil’s advocate.

Microsoft aims to be the enabler of productivity. All of their products, from Office to Surface, are aimed at making work better. When the company bought Yammer, OK…it was a play for social productivity.

When it invested in Facebook, it was not (before you say "but Facebook for work," hold on a second…I’ll get to that). While Google is typically killed in the press for its social failures (anyone pining for the days of Google Wave?), Microsoft seems to simply be buying things to buy things. If you buy Yammer, you build it up and turn it into a productivity tool (maybe even a new front door to Sharepoint). Had this worked, I wonder if Slack would ever have become the “SLACK” we know today.

They moved on from that and invested in Facebook. Even if you want to give the benefit of the doubt and say “But Facebook for Work is the future,” you have to acknowledge that Microsoft just spent $26 billion on something that should, in theory, be a competitor to Facebook at Work.

And all this ignores Skype as a business tool (that’s still a Microsoft thing, as is Lync).

Microsoft is throwing (stuff) at the wall and hoping to see what sticks.

I want to play devil's advocate and try to see the logic here. Maybe Microsoft is looking to buy the data and set of connections. People willingly give their information to Google…maybe this is a data play. Maybe Microsoft sees the gig economy taking off and enterprises having a bigger need to find specialist talent? Or, maybe Microsoft…actually, as Peter Kafka points out…there may not be a lot to like in this deal.
If you take MSFT and LNKD at their words, there's no synergy, and little strategic alignment. It's just an aging company buying a newer one.
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) June 13, 2016
For PR peeps, might there be a benefit here? I mean, could Microsoft build a news ticker into Office that’s based on news from LinkedIn or Pulse? (If so, will it be virtually impossible to opt out of like LinkedIn emails are??? Ugh). Does a publishing platform that’s basically forced into a still-heavily utilized OS work? Facebook and Google have made obvious attempts to woo publishers…might this “captive audience” approach be Microsoft’s entry?

That’s obviously speculation above. But the idea of Clippy as a paperboy could make some sense…I guess?

It’s not my money, but boy, it seems like a big pile of dough to (yet again) get into social networking.


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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