Was Microsoft's Acquisition of LinkedIn a Good Move? | Opinion

This originally appeared on Quora. Answered by Mario Peshev.

Microsoft's acquisitions are always contradictory.

  • Skype was acquired for 32 times their operating profit.
  • Nokia was assimilated with innovation suppressed at the same time. When was the last time you saw someone using a Nokia device?

Skype did suffer from Microsoft's acquisition in the short-term. 3rd party users relying on different clients were kicked out of their corresponding platforms. This impacted IT departments using Pidgin, Miranda, or imo by connecting different applications relying on various protocols.

Mobile users were abandoned for nearly a year - following a rebuild on both desktop and mobile and launching the web version of Skype. Skype for Business is a separate suite which isn't compatible with their standard Skype app - leading to a major disconnect during conference and business calls (which was a reason for Zoom's success for video and audio conference calls).

Microsoft closed Skype's office in Sweden in 2017 while it was still profitable. Their strategy isn't directly related to growth and revenue—some of their moves are aligned to long-term goals or as a defensive mechanism against competitors acquiring their products.

LinkedIn's development has been stalled for several years now. Except for launching video, notifications are still horrid, groups are useless, premium plans for general users are not affordable.

LinkedIn is still growing—but primarily due to external factors.

  • Twitter's growth has declined drastically. The amount of spam and automatically posted content is far too much. The noise is just appalling.
  • Facebook has been targeted primarily by consumer-oriented businesses. It's advertising model has affected many last year. Data privacy concerns over the past month have caused a major drop in their valuation.
  • Google Plus didn't make it. It's still alive but mainly on autopilot. It has an enormous potential given Google's core suite, yet it lacks any focus or organization.
  • Business alternatives like Xing never gained popularity in the US. AngelList lacks a good portion of LinkedIn's features.
LinkedIn logo
The logo for LinkedIn Corporation is shown in Mountain View, California, U.S. February 6, 2013. An FBI investigation into a cyberattack on the social media site in 2012 has culminated in an arrest in Prague. Robert Galbraith/Reuters

LinkedIn's acquisition of Lynda was a good move - and LinkedIn users are often promoted free courses or discounts for their training program. The fact that a good number of Lynda's courses are high quality is definitely a plus.

All things considered, LinkedIn has been reporting traction in their own network as of late 2016. A fraction of Facebook's users migrate to LinkedIn for various of reasons—from personal branding through networking to developing new forms of business opportunities.

The platform is still a chaos. The web versions is broken across its numerous tiers. If Microsoft was serious about LinkedIn, they would have spent the time and effort to make the user experience seamless and interactive—drastically growing their user base and increasing the time spent on LinkedIn.

Is that happening? Not so much, we are yet to see how this will play out in 2018.