We knew it was about to happen, but now it’s official: LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft.
The mammoth multi-billion dollar deal was first announced back in June, and the European Commission gave it the green light earlier this week, adding its approval to that of myriad regulators around the world, including those from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and South Africa.
“This is a major milestone for the company, one that we believe will accelerate how we connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, in a blog post earlier this morning.
The deal represents one of the biggest tech acquisitions of all time, and certainly the biggest in Microsoft’s history by a considerable margin — its next-most-valuable acquisition came back in 2011 when it bought Skype for $8.5 billion. With LinkedIn now officially on board, Microsoft says it will set about pursuing “a specific set of integration scenarios,” according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
We already knew that Microsoft planned to create synergy between LinkedIn, Microsoft Office 365, and Microsoft Dynamics, its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software suite. And, well, that’s pretty much still the plan. In the immediate aftermath of the deal, you can expect LinkedIn identity data to be integrated into Outlook and Office, with LinkedIn notifications appearing in the Windows Action Center. Those creating or updating resumes in Microsoft Word will be able to update their LinkedIn profile without leaving Word, while also searching for and applying to jobs on LinkedIn.
According to Nadella, other imminent updates include:
-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 our content ecosystem and MSN.com
-Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn today claims more than 400 million members around the world and is pretty much the de facto social network for professionals. But ongoing complaints that the service had become spammy, cluttered, and hard to use suggests that LinkedIn had reached the end of the road in terms of what it could achieve on its own. Under Microsoft’s stewardship, it may be given a new lease on life. “For our members, the LinkedIn that you use to advance your career, find jobs, build your network and stay informed is only going to get better,” added Weiner. “We’re going to focus on how we leverage Microsoft’s impressive scale and innovation to create more value for all of you.”
But until we know the full ins and outs of how LinkedIn will be integrated into Microsoft’s products, in terms of opt-ins, opt-outs, and how well the products are linked together, it’s difficult to know how end-users will welcome the integrations. Or whether they’ll be welcomed at all. Then there’s the issue of data — LinkedIn possesses a vast arsenal of information on millions of people, and it’s still unclear the extent to which Microsoft will put this data to use.