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):
- Yammer/Office 365 users will be able to get/find contact data from Linkedin.
- Office 365 documents will take their place as featured contents on Linkedin (superseding or side-by-side with Pulse posts and SlideShare presentations).
- Content from Linkedin groups will be available as search results in the Yammer platform.
- Some sort of internal/external (with respect to the Company border) integration of messaging.
- 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.