What Microsoft needs to do after buying LinkedIn?

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
Research agency Forrester has revealed their analysts commentary on Microsoft’s $26.2 billion deal to purchase professional networking website LinkedIn.

Dan Bieler, principal analyst at Forrester

LinkedIn’s status of trusted independent platform for professional information exchange could be undermined. Although the deal, should it go through, helps Microsoft to strengthen its social networking services and professional content, there will be LinkedIn users that are not keen to become sucked into the Microsoft ecosystem as part of their social collaboration activities.

Microsoft must be much faster to decide on LinkedIn’s strategy than it did with Skype. It took Microsoft five years to define its strategy for Skype (and Yammer for that matter). This slow response to sort out Skype’s place in the Microsoft family slowed down Skype’s momentum significantly. By the time the new Skype strategy was announced, most of the hardcore Skype users had migrated away towards other social collaboration platforms.

Microsoft must redouble its mobile efforts. A large part of LinkedIn’s activities are mobile based. Microsoft’s weak position in mobile ecosystems could dramatically undermine LinkedIn’s longer-term opportunities. If Microsoft underestimates the mobile dimension for LinkedIn, the future for LinkedIn could be very questionable. Users are fickle and there is no loyalty to outdated social media platform.

Jeffrey Hammond, VP, principal analyst at Forrester

This deal puts Microsoft in better position to compete with other Digital Platform independent software vendors (ISVs) like Salesforce, Facebook and Amazon, by combining LinkedIn’s extensive business focused social graph with products from Microsoft’s Office, Dynamics and Azure teams. It adds a valuable source of community and connection to Microsoft’s Digital Application Platform.

Melissa Parrish, VP, principal analyst at Forrester

If Microsoft fully integrates everything from LinkedIn’s feature-set to the data, social media in the workplace will become so much more than a quick way to chat with a colleague or collaborate on a doc. It’ll be pivotal for recruiting and retention; it’ll change the way companies think about employee, prospect, and customer privacy; and it will potentially be a game changer for B2B marketing and social selling.