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Microsoft and LinkedIn Combination Will Revolutionize the Knowledge Worker

linkedin image for blog post
Photo source: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Influencers blog post

Big news—this morning Microsoft announced its intention to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, as part of its Productivity and Business Processes division.
As the largest acquisition of a consumer internet company in history and largest acquisition Microsoft has ever done, this is a huge step for both companies and for the tech industry. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our friends and partners at LinkedIn and Microsoft on this news. I believe their combination will revolutionize office productivity and how knowledge workers like you and me create, collaborate, and work.
As Microsoft’s Satya Nadella told the Wall Street Journal, this is “the coming together of the professional cloud [Microsoft Office] and the professional network [LinkedIn].” That this deal will pay $196 per LinkedIn share, a 50% premium to LinkedIn’s closing price on Friday is a great testament to LinkedIn’s value and opportunity it provides for the combined entity.
LinkedIn will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary under its current CEO Jeff Weiner, with minimal impact on day-to-day operations in the short term. Longer term, I believe that this acquisition could provide a powerful opportunity to extend LinkedIn’s impact on the daily life of LinkedIn members, as Jeff wrote in his blog post announcement this morning, by “massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.” Unquestionably, the addition of LinkedIn’s social and identity graph provides Microsoft with a highly strategic opportunity to continue owning the world’s office worker and productivity applications going forward.
Congratulations again to the LinkedIn and Microsoft teams on this announcement and on their joint mission to empower people and organizations. As a LinkedIn Certified Partner and former Microsoft employee, I look forward to our continued partnership and supporting the combined entity’s ambitious plans to revolutionize office productivity and the knowledge worker.

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What the Facebook IPO means

Ed. note: The following post, penned by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

It’s electrifying here in Silicon Valley this week, even more so than usual. Normally, many of us are heads down, focused on our own companies, but right now, even in the land of “what’s next?” all anyone can talk about is the Facebook IPO.
This week marks the dawn of a new era. Facebook going public — with a billion users worldwide and $3.7 billion in revenue — confirms that Facebook is doing to Google today what Google did to Microsoft nearly a decade ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight years since the Google IPO.
What’s changed since Google was the new, hot company that toppled Microsoft in consumers and investors’ hearts?
For one, consumer behavior has changed. In the Google era, people learned to search for information, products, and businesses. But over the last five years, Facebook has altered online behavior. In the Facebook era, people now choose to share and discover rather than simply search for information.
A growing number of people worldwide now get their news as well as learn about products and services through what their friends are reading, liking, and buying — all this, of course, is broadcast through the Facebook news feed, Twitter streams, and LinkedIn Today.
As a result, Facebook replaced Google as the most visited site in the U.S. in 2010, according to Experian Hitwise. Now, Facebook is even overtaking Google in the amount of traffic it drives to third-party sites, including Guardian UK. By establishing trusted graphs of friends and brands one likes or follows, social networking sites have transformed the way people are making important decisions such as what to read, what to buy, where to buy, and whom to hire.
Hence the $3.7 billion in revenue. And this is just the beginning.

The future is bright

Indeed, Facebook’s best days are still ahead. There is strong near-term upside in the new ad formats they have created. New Facebook ad products like Sponsored Stories and Reach Generator, which broadcast Business Page “likes” and posts to wider audiences, are already showing great promise by driving conversion rates higher for marketers.
In the medium term, Facebook is well positioned to monetize on mobile, payments, and international growth. Over 55 percent of its 901 million users are active on Facebook Mobile, and this number just keeps growing as more people get smartphones. In its S-1, Facebook disclosed it already generates nearly 18 percent of its revenue from payments generated from the 30 percent “tax” it charges for transactions involving virtual or digital goods (think vegetables in Farmville — the broccoli adds up!). On the international front, Facebook has had great user growth but only scratched the surface in terms of monetization.
Long term, the possibilities are endless. The convergence of Facebook and well-established online business models such as search, commerce, and ad networks could be very compelling for consumers, in addition to being lucrative for Facebook. For example, why couldn’t search be social? If I search for “digital camera,” why should I see the same organic and paid results as my 11-year old niece who would respond much better to a lower-end model that’s pink? And why should she or I see the same results as my husband’s friend who is a professional photographer and would clearly be interested in a very different kind of digital camera?
Facebook could also partner or compete head-on with traditional offline channels such as TV, digital dashboards in automobiles, and smart billboards enabled with near field communication that tailor their displays to whomever may be nearby.

In conclusion

Silicon Valley is roaring again. From LinkedIn, Zynga, and Yelp to Facebook and its rapidly expanding partner ecosystem, innovation is alive and well. A heartfelt congratulations to the team at Facebook on their IPO and, indeed, for changing the world. Stay focused and keep shipping.
Image courtesy of ABC News.