Microsoft Buys LinkedIn

How will this impact college students?

Microsoft is making a major play by acquiring the professional networking site, LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. This is the technology company’s first dive into the social media space and further diversifies their portfolio from their current line of products which includes: Windows, MS Office, Skype, MSN, Bing, and XBox Live. As its largest acquisition deal to date, Microsoft’s involvement is expected to contribute to the further growth of what Bloomberg‘s Cory Johnson refers to as “one of the largest, fastest-growing social media companies in the world.”

The details

linkedinIn June, Microsoft announced the purchase which should be completed by the end of the year. LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, will remain in his current role, and the social network is not expected to make any significant changes to its day-to-day business operations or to the site experience. At least not yet.

The biggest impact will be helping improve and build relationships for LinkedIn’s 433 million users. Microsoft’s software will execute that integration of making connections easier.

In an email to sent to his employees, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella cast his vision into how LinkedIn may be incorporated into Microsoft’s line of products: “We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations. Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes.”

Nadella continues, “Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics. This combination will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete.”

Why now?

Despite being the 3rd largest social media network, LinkedIn has been struggling financially. In February, LinkedIn shares had fallen 43%. This shaky landscape aided in negotiations and Microsoft’s purchase ultimately drove shares back to its previous marks providing stability. Social media is a critical component of the future business and technology sectors, and by acquiring LinkedIn, Microsoft is demonstrating its intention to remain a relevant player in the digital landscape.

How Microsoft’s acquisition will impact students

LinkedIn is the best opportunity for professionals to network and not just share their résumé but display actual marketable skills and experience. The fastest-growing demographic is college students. It is important to not just stand out amongst the competition, but also find a suitable job that can highlight your expertise. Through Nadella’s example finding these connections will be an easier process. An MBA student, for instance, could share their capstone about their domestic widget enterprise and could then be connected to a recruiter for a like-minded company.

“The purchase of LinkedIn by Microsoft has definitely caught the attention of the social networking world. I think this is a good situation for the creators and staffers of LinkedIn because it’s no surprise to know that LinkedIn was experiencing some growth and operational challenges over the last few years. Growth is not easy, and acquisitions are a part of growth, so it makes sense. It’s also great to know from a consumer standpoint that both companies plan to keep their unique organizational cultures intact for their respective brands. For Microsoft it is about user information. The unique data sets that can be gained from LinkedIn profiles is invaluable to Microsoft.  What I will be watching for is how Microsoft handles this acquisition.  They don’t have a great track record with such mega acquisitions – shiny new toys are always appealing, but the newness eventually wears off. We shall see with time.” – Lee Ann Walker, D.B.A., M.B.A. Marketing Academic Program Manager

With Microsoft’s support, LinkedIn could become an even greater influence in the job market of tomorrow. Employers are expected to increasingly turn to the site during all stages of the recruitment process, thereby making careful profile development more important than ever for students and current job seekers. Like Microsoft, students who embrace LinkedIn will find themselves inundated with exciting opportunities.

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