Nearly six months after Microsoft spent $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn in the most expensive social networking acquisition in history, the two companies have made it official.
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Microsoft has finally closed its agreement to acquire the "social network for professionals," and CEO Satya Nadella celebrated by outlining some of the most immediate features, products, and integrations we can expect from the business social media marriage.
In a LinkedIn Pulse post Nadella has clearly been eager to write, the CEO waxed poetic about imbuing LinkedIn with the cloud infrastructure power of Microsoft Azure. The partnership will begin with a series of strategic innovations to integrate Microsoft products with LinkedIn functionality and vice-versa.
"Today is an exciting day, one I've been looking forward to since June. It marks the close of the agreement for Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn and the beginning of our journey to bring together the world's leading professional cloud and the world's leading professional network," wrote Nadella. "As we articulated six months ago, our top priority is to accelerate LinkedIn's growth, by adding value for every LinkedIn member."
The intervening months have been rather eventful as the parties have waited for the deal to close. Salesforce, one of the companies that lost out on buying LinkedIn, urged European regulators to block the deal as a "threat to innovation" that would give Microsoft too much control over LinkedIn data. The customer relationship management giant's plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
After the deal went through, we began to envision all the crossover potential in what Microsoft could do with LinkedIn across productivity, human resources, CRM, collaboration, social identity, and more. In Nadella's immediate plans below, Microsoft plans to deliver on many of the no-brainer integrations we predicted:
- LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
- LinkedIn notifications within the Windows Action Center
- Enabling members drafting résumés in Microsoft Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
- Extending the reach of sponsored content across Microsoft properties
- Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
- LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
- Developing a business news desk across Microsoft's content ecosystem and MSN.com
- Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365
In another recent blog post, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith revealed some further plans, including continued third-party support for other professional social networking services, IT customization of LinkedIn information in Office experiences, and possible plans to develop a LinkedIn application or a tile for Windows 10. We're only scratching the surface of what Microsoft can and will do with its new, expensive business toy.