It seems like the internet is exploding over this morning’s announcement that Microsoft will acquire LinkedIn for $196/share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion.

Rather predictably, wisecracks abound from the Twittersphere such as “EXCLUSIVE: Microsoft’s Satya Nadella accidentally acquired LinkedIn as he tried to delete his account” and “Microsoft and LinkedIn: finally, one company owns all the world’s worst UX design” among many others — but do these pundits have a point, or are they just competing for the best one-liner and 140 characters of fame?

 

It seems like there are indeed some mixed feelings about the merger. When the clergyman asked the tech publications of the world to speak now or forever hold their peace, Venturebeat raised its hand and said “this deal will be a catastrophic failure.” Though we think that this statement might be a little bit dramatic, the publication does make some valid assertions. It can’t be denied that despite the rosy stats surrounding LinkedIn’s growth on display today, the outlook for 2016 as a whole remains short of investors expectations. This, coupled with recent declines in U.S. job growth doesn’t exactly signal a wealth of momentum for LinkedIn as a platform in the immediate future.

However, despite unavoidable skepticism surrounding the deal, Satya Nadella and Jeff Weiner remain extremely opportunistic about the decision to — as they are positioning it — “bring together the world’s leading professional cloud and the world’s leading professional network”. And we can’t help but wonder whether non-supporters of the deal are thinking small. Microsoft now has the complete working history of everyone aged 25-45 — and there is a seriously underrated amount of untapped potential in that fact. Some 433 million people globally use LinkedIn to network, job search, and connect with past and present colleagues.

Microsoft now has the complete working history of everyone aged 25-45.

Though Microsoft hasn’t totally unveiled its reasoning behind the purchase, Jeff Weiner foreshadows future plans in his open letter to the LinkedIn workforce. Some of the most notable expectations from the power move:

 

    • By using LinkedIn to power the social/identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over a billion customers, we are sure to see massive scaling of LinkedIn’s reach and engagement. This also means that LinkedIn sponsored content customers/advertisers will have the ability to reach Microsoft users anywhere.
    • By integrating the Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning solution into Microsoft’s most popular productivity apps, we will see a transformation in the process of learning and development.
    • The combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics could redefine the industry approach to social selling.
    • Freelancers and contractors that use Microsoft’s productivity apps to run their businesses will likely experience new solutions and opportunities.

 

These are just some of the opportunities that have been alluded to, but we’re eager to see what develops in the coming weeks and months.

If you want to learn more, we recommend tuning into the video below and/or listening to the conference call between the two companies discussing plans for the future via their online webcast.