Whenever a company makes a $26 billion acquisition, you can be sure that legions of armchair CEOs will emerge from their troll caves to explain what a terrible idea it is. Microsoft’s recent purchase of LinkedIn is no exception.
- According to the New York Times, it will make you hate Microsoft Word.
- Fortune offers “proof” that Microsoft paid way too much for the acquisition.
- It makes “no business sense,” says The Guardian.
To be fair, the critics may be right. Microsoft’s track record with major acquisitions is spotty at best, but that has little bearing on what this acquisition could mean.
Amid these debates, few have considered what the acquisition will mean for Microsoft Dynamics, the software giant’s line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. There’s little doubt Microsoft had enterprise clients in mind when making the acquisition.
The Best and Worst Case Scenarios for The Microsoft-LinkedIn Acquisition
Right now, it’s up in the air what the acquisition will mean for the enterprise offerings, though Microsoft has indicated that LinkedIn will integrate in some way with Office365 and Dynamics.
Here are the best and worst case scenarios:
Microsoft smoothly rolls out new integrative features with LinkedIn that bolster its customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources (HR) management offerings. Microsoft reasserts its position as a dominant force in the office, and Dynamics gains a serious competitive advantage over other major ERP players and CRM platforms such as Salesforce.
Microsoft rolls out clunky, poorly-received and unintuitive integrative features that disrupt the user experience in Office365, Dynamics and LinkedIn. An exodus from LinkedIn—either due to mass user rejection of the changes or the emergence of an unforeseen competitor—may be unlikely. But, it could also weaken the value proposition of a LinkedIn-Dynamics integration.
A Dream List of Microsoft-LinkedIn Integrations
So what should Microsoft do? Here’s a dream list of how those integrations could play out:
|Microsoft Product||LinkedIn Integration|
Of course, these scenarios don’t address the potential integrations with Office365, but those are easy to imagine as well. For example, one could imagine an integration with Microsoft Word that provides a resume template for users to fill out and easily sync to their LinkedIn profile. Integration between InMail and Outlook also seems like a no-brainer for consumers and enterprises alike.
Again, this is all up in the air. We’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft has in mind, but it seems likely that the acquisition could have a huge impact on the Dynamics line of products.