Takeways from the Microsoft – LinkedIn deal

Since the announcement of Microsoft’s deal to purchase LinkedIn for $26bn in June, there has been significant interest in how these two behemoths would come together. In a quick post last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared news of the early priorities. We take a look and try to read between the lines.

What was said

The Microsoft leader shared eight ‘integration scenarios’ which the combined team would pursue in the immediate future:

LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite: We presume that this means snippets from your LinkedIn network will be visible when using Microsoft tools. For example, if you book a meeting with a colleague or connection, their LI profile would be visible to you assuming you’re connected in some way and their email addresses match. If someone were to use a different identifier at work and on LinkedIn — Maybe they were registered using their personal email address for example — then this might fall over. Nevertheless, this could well be a useful feature for some. Will it also mean that people feel the need to edit their LinkedIn connections and profile so minimise visibility? Maybe we’ll see a new LinkedIn feature to ‘checkbox’ visibility to Office.

LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action centre: Well, ok, it’s more than a bit ‘meh’ given there are other ways to achieve this. Underwhelmed.

Enabling members drafting résumés/CVs in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn: It’s not entirely clear what this really means but, potentially, it means some synchronicity between résumés/CVs and LinkedIn profiles — one writing the other maybe. Job hunters might find this useful but all parties would have to be extremely careful not to have awful edits visible to the world.

Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties: Terrific for shareholders, largely awful for end users.

Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365: This is the start of something interesting. For many years, there have been companies that have offered Microsoft:LinkedIn integrations to offer up alternatives to the corporate directory. Synchronicity between your corporate AD and LinkedIn profile could be useful for end users and corporations alike, helping to solve the problem of poor data quality that plagues people directories. There are many issues to consider here:

  • What happens when job titles on AD and LinkedIn don’t match?
  • What happens when candidates have ‘inflated’ their experience?
  • Would users want all their LinkedIn details to be visible to the corporate AD?

LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem: Good idea as it will add additional value to the package.

Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and MSN.com: Content remains king and if this deal helps bring LinkedIn news updates to the end user within the Microsoft ecosystem rather than uniquely within LinkedIn, then that’s a win for the user and Microsoft alike.

Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365: This feels like a very natural evolution of the existing services.

What didn’t they say?

There are some gaps in the announcement which we’re keen to learn more about.

The Office Graph: The Delve application, part of O365, is using a social graph built on data points from within the Microsoft ecosystem including Lync/Skype, Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer. It would be fantastic if LinkedIn became part of the Graph.

Messaging: Few would say the LinkedIn messaging experience is an exemplar, so enhancements through the Microsoft team would be very welcome. Better would be to fully integrate LinkedIn messaging and Skype but we’ll have to wait for more information on this facet.

Talent Acquisition: By spending $26.2bn, Microsoft have just bought millions of professional résumés and are now in pole position to identify and recruit the best.

SlideShare: Quietly bought by LinkedIn for $119m in 2012, this is all now part of the Microsoft family. This is an intriguing hookup. We expect we’ll see the ability to publish presentations directly from Office to SlideShare and the ability to edit post-publish.

A proper social network: How do Microsoft compete with Facebook? They buy the professional, dour, equivalent. We’ve all seen countless LinkedIn users moan about spammy posts (“This isn’t Facebook you know!”), but maybe we should expect some evolution of the platform with little resistance from Microsoft themselves or…

Workplace by… Microsoft?: Workplace is Facebook’s attempt to build an enterprise solution and monetise their code in a new channel. If Microsoft add file shares, enhanced messaging and real-time document editing to LinkedIn — i.e. a true Office integration — then they have a Workplace rival.


Eyebrows were raised when this deal was announced but we think there’s a great deal of synergy and value to be gained by this merger.

What do you think?

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  1. Reg Lewin

    It will be interesting to see if the level of integration extends to the point where the people directory/peoplefinder in an org may be rendered superfluous by a LinkedIn profile. If this happens LinkedIn reporting lines app to build orgs charts could be a useful addition but there would need to be stronger privacy controls. One drawback though is that LinkedIn is hugely popular for job hunters and recruiters. If you are job hunting and fluffing up your profile, this could be more apparent to your current employer than at present.

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