Microsoft Linkedin acquisition

The news are here.

This is only one of the thousands of articles about this deal. I would like to share some first-hour thoughts by the perspective of the Enterprise Social Networks software market.

Four years ago, Microsoft have placed a bet, acquiring Yammer, one of the leading products in the ESN market. The strategy appeared clear:

  • focus on cloud,
  • building a “social layer” on top of the Office 365 offering,
  • playing a role in this emerging market segment.

Today, this move appears only as a partial success.

So, why Linkedin? When acquisitions like this happens, I prefer to look at the small technical innovations rather than at the Corporate-level marketing announcements.

I am expecting some of the following (in the short/medium term):

  1. Yammer/Office 365 users will be able to get/find contact data from Linkedin.
  2. Office 365 documents will take their place as featured contents on Linkedin (superseding or  side-by-side with Pulse posts and SlideShare presentations).
  3. Content from Linkedin groups will be available as search results in the Yammer platform.
  4. Some sort of internal/external (with respect to the Company border) integration of messaging.
  5. Video chat, or video posting of presentations on Linkedin, sourced maybe from Lync.

Will this be a success? Surely this kind of integration may boost the adoption of Office 365 and cloud document services (more than Yammer), just like the (virtually) free diffusione of Word/Excel at the early times of Windows was a great move to beat the competition in the office automation software market.

There is also a tremendous potential from the possible integration of Outlook/Yammer/Linkedin as a unified business communication platform. But this require a complete redesign of the product strategy.

On the negative side there is the current level of “pollution” in Linkedin, emerging as aggressive and “massive” marketing campaigns, some not-so-professional usage patterns (dating), a decrease in the quality of posts (too much marketing, too much trivial quotes), and – most of all – a decrease in the volume/quality of recruiting, one of the main assets of Linkedin.