What are Microsoft Playing At?

Most readers of this blog will be only too well aware that Microsoft have just acquired LinkedIn for a staggering $26 Billion or thereabouts. This was announced yesterday. Since then I have had a number of chats with business associates, clients and friends about this very topic. Three things come to light:

  1. Microsoft are not good at managing web properties and have a poor record in this.
  2. Microsoft have a very troubled acquisition history in general. Nokia is an excellent example.
  3. There does not seem to be a “fit” between LinkedIn and Microsoft. The only strategic fit I could find would be to bundle Microsoft products into LinkedIn subscriptions in order to claw back market share. Even then I am not too sure about this strategy.

Shares in both companies rose substantially around announcement time. I have always felt that LinkedIn are a heavily over valued stock. They have had to implement technical solutions to force people into paid subscriptions in the past 2 years. Certainly for me this has been highly annoying. I will say that some of these solutions are very, very clever. LinkedIn has become a social network for work in my opinion. By this I mean that is has become acceptable to read and interact with sometimes questionable content whilst at work. For what its worth I also believe that Facebook is heavily over valued too. I have always found Microsoft to be a strange company internally. I spent 6 months on a contract there back in the days before LinkedIn and Facebook even existed. Confidentially agreements prevent me from sharing any stories but I could never really work out the politics, the processes, the people or the business model. It was a very strange time indeed. I have to say that the whole experience left me hating with a passion the part of Reading UK, known as Thames Valley Park, where Microsoft’s UK HQ are situated. So what will happen next? Will this flat line in the same way that the strategy behind acquiring Nokia did? Lets face it not a lot of good came out of that one as is evidenced in the media. Is there a next big thing in the pipeline? Will I get offered a free Office365 subscription if I sign to LinkedIn Premium? (To be fair this might be the only reason I but LinkedIn Premium ever again!) One thing is for sure. The plot does thicken! I Hope you are all well Until next time Best regards Court