Before the world knew that Microsoft had reached an agreement to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner gave his employees the news in a 1,700-word email.
In it, he acknowledged the “sense of excitement, fear, sadness” that many of his 10,000 employees must be feeling. It would make sense that some of them would be fearful. Microsoft’s 2013 multi-billion-dollar acquisition, Nokia, ended with the company laying off thousands in its phone division.
Major social media acquisitions have also met with mixed results, though leaders of acquisitive large companies seem to have learned from the mistakes of Myspace and Bebo.
Weiner is expected to stay on as LinkedIn’s chief executive and report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In his email, Weiner asked employees to “imagine a world where we’re no longer looking up at Tech Titans such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, and wondering what it would be like to operate at their extraordinary scale—because we’re one of them.”
“Imagine a world where we’re not reacting to the intensifying competitive landscape—we’re leading it with advantages most companies can only dream of leveraging,” Weiner wrote.
Who doesn’t dream of leveraging advantages?
For its part, Microsoft gains the world’s largest professional social media network and an advertising platform that has struggled to meet the company’s earning’s projections.
“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” Nadella said in a statement. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”
If you’re wondering why LinkedIn is worth $26.2 billion to Microsoft, Vox’s Timothy Lee explained:
Beyond the dollars changing hands, the acquisition of LinkedIn cements a broader shift in Microsoft’s corporate strategy that many consumers still haven’t noticed. Microsoft’s early success came from dominating the market for PC software, followed by a period of struggle in which it tried to basically copy that business over to the mobile world and failed.
But under the leadership of relatively new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is shifting to become a company that primarily sells online services to business customers. LinkedIn fits this new strategy perfectly, and it will help Microsoft both broaden the set of business customers it can serve and deepen the relationship with those it already serves.
Weiner and Nadella discussed the deal, which is expected to close by year-end, in a video posted to Microsoft’s YouTube page:
The news sparked many reactions—and snark—on Twitter as news of the acquisition trended throughout the day on Monday. Some joked that the acquisition could mark the return of Clippy, the animated paperclip that helped users learn Microsoft’s products in its early days:
Oh, no! It begins! Clippy trolling me on LinkedIn: pic.twitter.com/qTA9wY2zg2
— MJ⛳️ (@MJGWrites) June 13, 2016
Coming soon to LinkedIn. pic.twitter.com/VlPWJ8emzt
— Mitch Goldstein (@mgoldst) June 13, 2016
People made jokes about like Clippy + “I’d like to add you to my …,” but this is just literally that. pic.twitter.com/vjEPhGhgaP
— Matt Levine (@matt_levine) June 13, 2016
If Clippy starts popping up demanding that we answer some LinkedIn request, I will go medieval https://t.co/07UpAzyJsj
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 13, 2016