LinkedIn: 'Closer than you think' campaign
LinkedIn: 'Closer than you think' campaign
A view from Alex Smith

It's time for Microsoft and LinkedIn to refresh a stagnant platform

Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn for £18.4bn could lead to the complete integration of the platform's global 433+ million professions into the tech giant's business services, writes Alex Smith.

Microsoft has long been the leaders in infrastructure and platforms, and with the acquisition of LinkedIn they now have acquired a cheaper alternative into the CRM market versus an attempt of acquiring the likes of a Salesforce, Oracle or SAP.

Looking into the future of productivity and cloud based communication it could be argued that LinkedIn bypasses the need for such software and allows businesses to connect directly with professionals simply by logging in.

The combination of Microsoft’s infrastructure and platforms business plus applications such as Windows, Skype and innovations such as HoloLens, could have some very interesting uses when combined with the professional networks community (not to mention LinkedIn’s owned properties including Lynda.com and Slideshare).

In a digital age where qualifying data points and single user logins are crucial in navigating devices and marketing communications, this acquisition will allow Microsoft to leverage an enormous wealth of already rich data.

The competition in the digital market is growing, with companies such as Google, Facebook, Oracle and Adobe branching out into new territories.

We are all used to seeing the ever confusing and mammoth Lumascape charts representing the digital marketing industry, and while we can mock the usefulness of these charts with thousands of tiny logos, they do illustrate a truth in that we are in a period of peak complexity where digital is as confusing as it has ever been.

This acquisition will allow Microsoft to leverage an enormous wealth of already rich data.

In the context of their direct media competition it is safe to say that previously both Microsoft and LinkedIn have failed in landing the same gravitas and punch as Facebook and Google, which have given media planners reasons to stay tuned in a very noisy market.

The perceived stagnant nature of the Microsoft and LinkedIn products have not changed at such a fast paced and evolving period, and have meant that previously they have struggled to remain front of mind.

In light of the acquisition Microsoft can now further compete with the media and software companies aggressively snapping at their heels, they are proving that they can still stand out in a very crowded marketplace.

In terms of "Connecting the professional world", they have made a very bold move in their acquisition of LinkedIn and it will be interesting to see how they join this up with the rest of the business.

In the UK it will be especially intriguing to see what sort of impact this has on AOL and their UK sales agreement to sell Microsoft ad inventory.  As part of a connected media owner, this will provide them with a further addition to an incredibly rich and diverse portfolio joined up by their DMP offering One Audience.

We must also consider that in a year with so much speculation regarding the future of other struggling white dwarfs of our industry, in regards to the likes of Yahoo and Twitter, how the other media giants will respond.

In light of this acquisition it is safe to say that it will be an interesting year and we must remain agile as to the impact this could have on our client’s and our own business.

Alex Smith is the head of digital planning at Maxus UK