Microsoft, Google and Apple - the three big stalwarts of software industry have one thing in common - lack of a strong play in the social networking platform. Google failed to capitalise even with a head start called Orkut and Apple is still in the lookout for a perfect 'Connect.' Microsoft, being Microsoft, has rather opted to acquire LinkedIn - a platform that is social with enterprise and business networking at heart.
Microsoft initially experimented with So.Cl, a platform that clubbed newsfeed and pictures for an interesting mix of social culture. The platform eventually lost due to lack of adoption but LinkedIn already has everything it takes to be successful. With LinkedIn, Microsoft hopes to bring together world's leading professional cloud with world's leading professional network.
"Today I am even more enthusiastic about the common mission and sense of purpose we share, the similarities in our cultures, and the added value we can create for LinkedIn members, to help professionals transform how they work, realize new career opportunities and connect in new ways," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote.
With LinkedIn, Microsoft hopes to combine its existing platforms with the core features of former's platform. For starters, LinkedIn will identify and network in Microsoft Outlook and Office Suite. LinkedIn will deliver notifications within the Windows action center. Microsoft also plans to allow direct integrations between Word and LinkedIn for direct updates to resume.
"As we articulated six months ago, our top priority is to accelerate LinkedIn’s growth, by adding value for every LinkedIn member," wrote Satya Nadella in a blog post.
Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition has not gone down well with Salesforce and it continues to maintain a stance that Redmond-based company might adopt anti-competitive practice. Microsoft, however, has agreed to keep its platforms open for anyone to build their tools.
"Microsoft – inclusive of LinkedIn – can take steps to help people develop new skills online, find new jobs and easily connect and collaborate with colleagues," Microsoft's Brad Smith wrote recently.
LinkedIn is formally owned by Microsoft now but the leadership and day-to-day operations will essentially remain the same. "Our members still come first. Our commitment to privacy and security will not change. And our partners are still core to our business," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft and LinkedIn are just starting up and it will be interesting to see how both companies add more value to their individual products and expand their enterprise offerings.