What're the Consequences of Microsoft Buying LinkedIn?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard about Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.  (Yes, that’s “b” as in a “billion.”)
The deal was announced on June 13, 2016 and will be all cash.  (Must be nice to have that kind of cash lying around!)
The big question on many minds, including my own, is, “What does this mean for the LinkedIn community?”
This is the latest in a series of big acquisitions of social media companies by others.  (Or, rather, they were big until this one came along.)    
Is this a good or a bad deal for users?
Will it even work?
I’ll discuss these points in this article.
BTW what follows are strictly my opinions.  (That may send a few folks who know me running towards the exits.)  
I’m not connected with either party to this transaction or their agents.
I use both companies’ products and they are critical to my business.
Now, that that’s out of the way, let’s get started!
First, my sense of the background to this deal.
I think there were two main reasons for this deal.
First, LinkedIn needed help.
Their infrastructure was aging, security was becoming more of an issue, and they needed ready access to cloud computing.  Deep pockets are required to fix all these and, say what you want about Microsoft, they do have deep pockets!  (Place Link here.) 
Second, Microsoft wanted badly to get into social media.
Facebook was way ahead of them.  They saw how Google had spent a lot of money and a good chunk of their reputation to launch Google+ and things didn’t quite go as planned there.  LinkedIn was a premium and unique social media brand and was available.  Having a few problems to knock  the premium down on the purchase price didn’t hurt.  
So, for the above reasons, we have a deal.
Assuming the deal clears regulatory hurdles, which it should, and no one makes a counter-offer, unlikely in my opinion, then the deal should close in a reasonable period of time and leaves us with the next question, “What does all this mean for me as a LinkedIn user?”
Overall, I believe that this should be a good deal for LinkedIn users.
Putting aside the cynical argument that things couldn’t get much worse, here’s my thinking.
First, this will help LinkedIn overhaul their infrastructure.  Many forget that LinkedIn is the oldest surviving social media channel.  It predated Facebook!  I believe that many features enjoyed by users and lost, not even to be found on LinkedIn Premium, were a result of an aging infrastructure that could neither support the volume of transaction nor had the ability to be upgraded for features that were standard in other social media channels.
Next, being acquired by Microsoft gives LinkedIn access to some of the best technology and minds behind security and cloud computing in the business.  Not a day seems to go by without some new security breach in the press.  Fortress Microsoft, while maybe not perfect, sure beats being out there all by yourself.
Finally, not only does Microsoft have the deep pockets to fund all this and whatever else comes along, they do tend to play a long game.  (Anyone care to remember Windows 1.0?)  Assuming they don’t lose their nerve or patience then  Microsoft will be a godsend as far as LinkedIn is concerned.
What might come out of this for users of LinkedIn?
Maybe some of those popular features that disappeared mysteriously will come back.
How about a more realistic pricing model?  (I have yet to recommend LinkedIn Premium to a client.)
A GUI that’s comparable to other leading social media channels wouldn’t hurt either.
One of my personal favorites would be a LinkedIn certification program at the level of other Microsoft certification programs.
We’re just going to have to wait and see!
What does Microsoft get out of this?
Integration and cross selling with their other products and services is what first comes to mind.
A captive audience for their ads is next.  (Which I could live with if it results in a more realistic pricing scheme for users.)
What might be some of the watch-outs here?
LinkedIn is not integrated into the Microsoft suite of products and services and becomes the Cinderella of the group.
There’s a brain drain from LinkedIn as everyone jumps ship.  (This would be especially pernicious in the early stages and is very common in tech acquisitions.)
A new competitor arises quickly to challenge LinkedIn’s dominance.  Admittedly, given the barriers to entry, this would be difficult and unlikely.  But, you never know!
Right now, it’s too soon to tell what’s going to happen.
Change does bring new opportunities and I’m looking forward to these.
One this is for sure and that’s that this will be fun and interesting!
Watch this space for new details!
That’s it for now!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I’m always willing to help you out with your social media program!
I can also be reached at conpsweeney@someddi.com.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.
Stay well!

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