What the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal means to you

An improved user interface? LinkedIn info merged seamlessly into Outlook? Here are five thoughts on how the tech giant’s acquisition of LinkedIn will affect corporate communicators.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion was huge tech news, but likely even bigger news for corporate communicators.

Since LinkedIn has grown into such a key tool, the merger will have a big impact in our industry.

It isn’t surprising people are nervous. After all, this isn’t the first social media acquisition for Microsoft. If you remember, they acquired Yammer years ago—which didn’t propel that platform to new and exciting places.

Here are five thoughts on how the deal will affect communicators:

1. No sudden moves for at least six months

I’m no M&A expert, but reading between the lines on communications from the two parties, I can say this: Don’t expect big changes to LinkedIn in the near future. My experience in similar deals is that the first six months to a year were spent researching and gathering information, discovering points of integration.

2. LinkedIn’s gain: Access to huge resources

The big win here for LinkedIn? They have access to Microsoft’s capital. For a while, people were worried that LinkedIn wasn’t focused on improving what some already consider a lackluster user experience. With Microsoft’s cash, LinkedIn should be able to make improvements. Still, as mentioned above, don’t expect anything soon.

3. Robust LinkedIn profiles become even more important

One obvious potential integration that impacts almost all corporate employees: LinkedIn’s social data seamlessly merging with Outlook. Think about the information LinkedIn could provide on every email: current position, years at job, relevant experience, etc. Imagine how much more effective your emails could be with that information so readily available. Further, when employees build stronger relationships, they’re more productive and more likely to stay with the company.

4. Executive profiles become crucial

I continue to be baffled that so few executives have LinkedIn profiles. Consider that in light of the scenario in No. 3. How embarrassing will it be for executives’ Outlook emails to come up blank. Executives may not need a LinkedIn profile to find a job, but they do need one to communicate with employees.

5. The employee communications newsfeed

What if Microsoft figures out a way to combine all employees’ newsfeeds into a single organization-wide information source, essentially displaying just what employees of X organization are sharing and what employees are saying about it. Voila, the employee communications newsfeed. Off the shelf. It might be a stretch, but I could see it happening.

A version of this article first appeared on ArikHanson.com.


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