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What the Microsoft LinkedIn Acquisition Could Mean for Salesforce.com

Wow, what a crazy way to start a Monday Morning–reading in the news that Microsoft is closing a deal to acquire LinkedIn for $26,200,000,000 dollars! While it’s a surprise that this is happening right now, the acquisition itself is not a total surprise to me. Microsoft has a history of purchasing applications that not only bring some technology to the mix but also users. Remember Skype? Microsoft acquired Skype and their several hundred million users a few years back. The Skype product continues to exist as a standalone tool today, but is also tightly integrated in several other suites that they offer.

 

So what about LinkedIn? What about Salesforce? The gears in my head are turning and here are a few predictions for what the new Microsoft LinkedIn acquisition could mean:

 

In the short term, nothing much. I suspect that LinkedIn will continue to remain as is to the general user. Its service and mission will still prove to be a viable business networking platform and *somewhat* social network. I’ve always thought of it as less than social, but it is a nice place to go and read up on some news and see where people are at in their career arcs.

 

API, API, API – LinkedIn has always been a “too good to be true” integration, having an expensive price point and somewhat onerous licensing. Perhaps the Microsoft acquisition will fix this and enhance the capability and flexibility of the pricing. À la carte pricing (perhaps like Google’s new Firebase) sure would be nice.

 

Data, Data, Data – The real treasure here is all of the data that exists–hundreds of millions of active users’ résumés AND job/career data. With 430 million+ registered members, people have their entire professional histories documented on LinkedIn. It’s basically the world’s most complete résumé database. Imagine what can be done with this. Way beyond the traditional recruiting use cases, but CRM in general, statistics and labor figures, even finding out how college graduates from certain schools have performed, how many people have jobs that are in line with their degrees, and more. So much information can be aggregated and sold off in different ways, giving Microsoft a lot of options on what to do in the coming months.

 

User Access – Since hundreds of millions of people here are already logging into LinkedIn, why not turn messaging into Outlook webmail and plow MS Office services into the offering? Change the model to a subscription where you get the social hub of LinkedIn, Outlook webmail, and MS Office access for personal use for a few bucks a month. Turn it into a huge cash machine and further Microsoft’s dominance in personal computing by allowing these enterprise products to funnel into the home. Really feels like it could quickly trump ye olde Google+ and Gdrive and Google Docs competitor.

 

Enterprise! – Imagine LinkedIn data tightly integrated with Dynamics CRM. I suspect new TOS on LinkedIn will allow this, and Dynamics customers could see a HUGE push for opting into LinkedIn data.

 

Finally, Salesforce! – Salesforce has been building up a big head of steam of good will with Microsoft. In that respect, this acquisition is great news for us. One of Salesforce’s “allies” is now the owner of LinkedIn, so I suspect that with the enhanced APIs, deep integration, and loads of data to mine, that related features will trickle down to Salesforce in the near future. It’ll be a great space to keep an eye on.

 

To wrap it up, this is some big news to start the week and this acquisition is going to open up a lot of doors and allow for exciting new synergies between LinkedIn and other technologies. I can’t wait to see how they play out. What do you think–any predictions? Drop a comment here or on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

 

Disclaimer – Author is a Salesforce.com partner, does not directly own any stock in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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