Microsoft Announces LinkedIn Acquisition

Today, Microsoft took a big step into the world of social media with the announcement of its plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. The deal is expected to close this calendar year and ensures that LinkedIn will preserve its brand and culture, with CEO Jeff Weiner reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Over the past year, LinkedIn has made a number of important moves that have yielded impressive results in membership, engagement, and finance. The company launched a new version of its mobile app, released a new version of its Recruiter tool to its enterprise customers, and acquired online education platform Lynda.com.

These moves have yielded 19 percent growth year over year to more than 433 million members worldwide, 9 percent growth year over year to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month, 49 percent growth year over year to 60 percent mobile usage, 34 percent growth year over year to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views, and 101 percent growth year over year to more than 7 million active job listings.

Microsoft plans to integrate users' LinkedIn profile information into all aspects of Microsoft Office 365, with the goal of providing users with the right data at the right time. Professionals using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook—as well as Skype—will be able to access unified profile information from LinkedIn within each application.

Microsoft also plans to incorporate LinkedIn features into Cortana and Dynamics CRM. With Cortana, Microsoft is looking to add a predictive component to the digital assistant by leveraging users' LinkedIn professional networks. Cortana will provide users with critical information about people they're meeting with, and may even suggest talking points.

With Dynamics CRM, Microsoft aims to transition salespeople from simply selling their products to more personalized social selling, a practice it will enable by connecting Dynamics CRM to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Microsoft hopes to assist salespeople in building deeper relationships with customers and prospects by harnessing the information LinkedIn can provide, a goal Nadella amplied in a statement: 

"The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics, as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet."

In his own statement, Weiner invoked the opportunity to "change the way the world works":

"Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn's network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works. For the last 13 years, we've been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I'm looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story."

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