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3 Ways Microsoft Could Change The Business World Via The LinkedIn Acquisition...

Some of you have seen it, some of you haven't.  After all, you've got jobs to do right?

Microsoft said Monday morning that it would acquire LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal. The acquisition, by far the largest in Microsoft’s history, unites two companies in different businesses: one a big maker of software tools, the other the largest business-oriented social networking site, with more than 400 million members globally.

Microsoft buys LinkedIn. Kind of a big deal, don't you think?  For you finance wonks, the deal price represents 91 times EBITDA (what?) and about 25% of Microsoft's cash vault.  Hmmmmm.  That's a big bet on the cloud.

But when you start thinking about the possibilities, there's some cool things that Microsoft could do with what they're buying that have a lot of utility. Here's my top 3:

  1. Training - part of the power of the deal is the acquisitions LinkedIn has already done, and one of those areas is training.  Imagine if MS turned on connections to Lynda, the online training company LinkedIn bought a while back, inside MS Office 365.  You've got an employee struggling to complete a necessary but complex formula, and on the 2nd error, MS Office offers up a quick tutorial from lynda.com INSIDE Office.  The exact right micro-training at exactly the right time. Powerful.
  2. Recruiting - Microsoft uses its trove of data to better connect individuals to jobs that are a direct match for them.  Let's say you need an email marketing manager.  Microsoft could use the trove of data at it's fingertips to tell you who's using the Office suite to do things that are directly related to email marketing and what % of their activities are related to that. It then could make offers to those people to take a look at jobs inside LinkedIn that are a direct match for those skills. Lots to work out with employers buying the Office Suite feeling like poaching was going on, but you get the direction.
  3. Organizational Design and Succession - In an application that Microsoft could do without LinkedIn, if you want better data on who's respected and powerful in your organization that transcends their positional authority, look at who's emails, file attachments and other digital bits are being opened, forwarded and responded to in a positive fashion. Keep it simple and rate every employee on a scale of 1-100 with 50 being average.  LinkedIn helps become the reason to do this as every employee with MS Office will surely get a LinkedIn profile automatically.

Read through those opportunities, and Microsoft is really the treasure of data that allows organizations to do interesting things with this acquisition. LinkedIn just becomes the reason to do this as it's hard to believe that every MS Office user won't have a LinkedIn profile moving forward, whether they want it or not.

Those are my top 3 ways Microsoft could use the LinkedIn Acquisition.  What are yours?

Of course, all of these things would have been more powerful if MS had responded better to the emergence of Google Docs.

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