In June 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking platform, for $26.2 billion in cash. This move was surprising but strategic, as it complements Microsoft’s mission to empower people and organizations to achieve more. Since then, Microsoft has been integrating LinkedIn’s data, content, and user base into its suite of products and services, which has led to some game-changing developments in business networking.
First, the acquisition has expanded Microsoft’s footprint in the social media space. While Microsoft had some presence in social media through its ownership of Yammer, a business-oriented social network, it lacked the massive user base and engagement levels of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With over 774 million members in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn adds a significant layer of social media to Microsoft’s ecosystem. This allows Microsoft to tap into new markets and demographics, as well as provide its users with new ways to network and connect with professionals across the globe.
Second, Microsoft has been leveraging LinkedIn’s data and content to improve its sales and marketing activities. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics 365, a cloud-based business application platform, now includes LinkedIn Sales Navigator data and insights. This integration provides sales professionals with information on leads and prospects, such as their company size, industry, job title, and connections, thus enabling them to personalize their sales pitches and improve their conversion rates. Moreover, Microsoft Advertising has been using LinkedIn data to target ads to specific audiences based on their professional profiles and interests.
Third, Microsoft has integrated LinkedIn’s learning platform into its services. Microsoft Learn, an online training platform for IT professionals, now includes LinkedIn Learning, which offers over 16,000 courses in areas such as software development, data science, project management, and leadership. This integration helps Microsoft upskill and reskill its own workforce, as well as provide its customers and partners with high-quality learning content.
Fourth, Microsoft has been using LinkedIn to enhance its human resources activities. Microsoft Talent Solutions, a suite of tools for recruiting and hiring, integrates LinkedIn Recruiter, which allows recruiters to search for and contact passive candidates who may not be actively looking for jobs. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the job market, this feature has become even more valuable, as organizations need to find ways to attract and retain top talent remotely.
Fifth, Microsoft has been innovating in the area of mixed reality with LinkedIn. Microsoft Mesh, a mixed reality platform that enables people to collaborate and interact in a virtual environment, now includes LinkedIn integration. This allows users to attend virtual meetings, events, and conferences using their LinkedIn profile and network, thus providing a more immersive and engaging experience than traditional video conferencing.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has been a game-changer for business networking. By combining Microsoft’s technology and vision with LinkedIn’s user base and expertise, both companies have been able to create new opportunities and value for their customers and stakeholders. As the world becomes more digital and connected, the role of social media and professional networking will only become more important, and Microsoft and LinkedIn are well-positioned to lead this transformation.