On 13 June 2016, Microsoft announced that it would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion! The deal is for $196 per share, a 50% premium to its share price.
The deal came as a surprise to everyone. Microsoft and LinkedIn are not sharing market segments, and their focus is different. This was not the only surprise, a lot of industry analysts tried to make sense of the deal, but the bigger surprise was the deal size — $26 BILLION!!!!!
This deal looks huge compared to other technology acquisitions like Skype $8.5bn, YouTube $1.65bn. LinkedIn has around 430 million users (this includes me), this makes the price is $60 per user, Not bad!
Having that said, let’s look what I think Microsoft could achieve through LinkedIn acquisition. This is not an attempt to justify the price though!
Azure case study
Moving Linked Infrastructure to Microsoft Azure would be a great study for Microsoft and a proof that Microsoft’s cloud platform can support large websites with huge demand.
In addition, LinkedIn technology stack is far from being based on Microsoft technology. This will be another success story for Microsoft, it will prove that its leading cloud platform is open to any technologies and not limited to Microsoft technologies.
A graph database is a database that uses graph structures for semantic queries with nodes, edges and properties to represent and store data. The relationships allow data in the store to be linked together directly, and in most cases retrieved with a single operation. (Wikipedia)
Microsoft has its own graph database in Office 365 and Azure. Microsoft provides a single endpoint to be able to retrieve the information from the graph database. Since all the objects are on the Microsoft Cloud (Azure and Office 365), all the information and links between users, files, emails, contacts, calendar…etc. can be easily retrieved and the graph database facilitates figuring out the connections between these objects.
Integration with Office 365
Also, LinkedIn has its graph database which I believe will become handy to integrate with the Microsoft Graph and allows developers to query the data from both platforms using a single endpoint or even enrich the both databases by connecting the dots.
Microsoft focus is the “Cloud”. Hence Office 365 comes to be an important element of the Microsoft story. Microsoft explained in a presentation its vision for the acquisition.
One of the key requirements I got in many of my SharePoint projects was to build a strong profile page within the intranet for the employees. Many organisations suffer from the inability to find the right expertise within the organisation. For example, a company may go to a translation service to translation a document from German to English and pay money and they don’t know that they have employees within the company with previous translation experience from German to English or Native German speaking employees.
Intranet projects usually included a requirement to build an engaging profile page “like Linked” which is supported by search related features to find people by expertise. Other features were driven from the same problem like using Gamification to encourage employees to complete their profile, components to show expertise and customised profile metadata…etc.
I see a huge opportunity for LinkedIn to fill in this gap by integrating LinkedIn profiles with Office 365 or Azure Active Directory profiles. This will allow the organisations to trust the information and employees don’t have to maintain two profiles.
Microsoft acquisition to LinkedIn is a big leap for Microsoft into a new direction with a lot of potential to realise the synergies. however, still the deal price tag is a question mark and will LinkedIn be valuable to Microsoft long term plans.