When it comes to productivity software, Microsoft has long ruled the world with its suite of Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. But now, it appears the tech giant will greatly expand its influence on your work and professional life online with its surprise acquisition of LinkedIn.
On Monday morning, Microsoft announced it would buy the professional network site, which boasts some 433 million users, for a staggering $26.2 billion. While that might seem like an insane amount of money for a site that constantly pesters you about endorsements and profile views, the deal positions Microsoft to tighten its grip on how you work by integrating its software and enterprise services with LinkedIn's massive platform. Basically, the two companies will together form a productivity, communications, and social networking super-giant that will be as inescapable as LinkedIn's 'add connections' emails.
As explained in a report by Engadget, you can expect to see LinkedIn integrated in Microsoft products like Skype, Cortana, and of course, Office apps. Or, imagine using Lynda.com (which LinkedIn acquired in 2015) to learn how to use Microsoft tools and services in addition to its other resources for professional development. In other words, if you're searching for a job, interacting with your professional network, or working on developing your career, you'll more than likely do those things via a LinkedIn integrated with Microsoft, giving the company the ability to directly market its cloud services to you, your team, and the company you work for.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a press release. “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.”
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, who will continue to head up the company, further claimed the deal will change the way you work:
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Of course, the acquisition still needs to be formally approved by shareholders, but Microsoft expects to close the deal by the end of this year. It's unclear when you might start noticing new features and changes on LinkedIn or in your Microsoft apps, but just like the emails asking you to shell out for a LinkedIn Premium upgrade, it's probably safe to say they're coming.