This week, big things happened indeed, and frankly, none of us saw that one coming. Microsoft announced that they would be buying LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion (yes, that’s billion-with-a-b.) Time is calling it the second-largest major tech acquisition in recent history, and almost $5 billion more than Facebook paid for WhatsApp.
Overnight, Microsoft has gone from focusing on enterprise social collaboration with things like Yammer and Office 365 and turned itself into a pretty big player in social media.
And the reason? A few big themes are coming out in the coverage:
- Microsoft is looking to the future: The official release today says that this is combining “the world’s leading professional cloud” and “the world’s leading professional network.” Notice that the word software isn’t mentioned anywhere. Microsoft is recognizing that it needs to evolve beyond Windows and hardware.
- Similar goals, different networks: Microsoft has had success connecting people inside companies, while LinkedIn has focused on professional networks outside the firewall. Still, both organizations are on a mission to make people more professionally productive, either on a corporate or a personal level.
- They’re all about the data: An investor presentation makes it very clear that Microsoft is excited by the potential ways that it can integrate LinkedIn’s data into its offerings.
- Why build when you can buy? Provided you have a spare $26 billion lying around, at least. Microsoft just saved itself years of development and competition against a well-entrenched player to get its hands on data and capabilities.
Buzzfeed describes it as “two unavoidable institutions of corporate life merging.” We’re all just hoping that neither of them brings back Clippy.
About the author:
Tara Saylor Litzenberger is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.