Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates supports the LinkedIn acquisition and views it as an opportunity to build a Facebook for business professionals. This perspective is in line with LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner’s vision of an economic graph that captures the broad scope of business activity.
“This professional feed in LinkedIn, that is how I want to learn about my career, my company, my industry, and I’m going back there,” Gates told Bloomberg last month. “If we can make that as valuable as the Facebook feed in the social world, that’s huge value creation and that’ll happen over a period of years.”
Gates contends that Microsoft and LinkedIn are more valuable together than as separate entities even though Microsoft stock slipped two percent on the announcement. “I certainly think that the value of the two companies combined is greater than the two by themselves, but I love the idea that the market wants us to show that,” he said.
Gates remains a member of Microsoft’s Board and is formally listed as a Technical Advisor to CEO Satya Nadella.
Dynamics 365 and AppSource
In other news, the firm continues to enhance the Dynamics platform (CRM and ERP) with the introduction of Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. “Dynamics 365 provides business users with purpose-built SaaS applications. These applications have intelligence built in. They integrate deeply with communications and collaboration capabilities of Office 365,” said Nadella. “Dynamics 365 along with AppSource and our rich application platform introduces a disruptive and customer-centric business model so customers can build what they want and use just the capabilities they need.”
The new Dynamics 365 platform will be available this fall.
Nadella views Office 365, Dynamics 365, AppSource (a newly launched SaaS app ecosystem for businesses), and LinkedIn as all working together to provide “services in the cloud where you can reason about the activity and the data underneath these services to benefit the customers who are using these services. So that’s what this notion of a graph represents.”
Nadella continued, “The professional cloud or the professional network helps usage across all of that professional usage. Whether it’s in Office 365 or whether you’re a salesperson using any application related to sales, you want your professional network there. Of course, it’s relevant in recruiting, it’s relevant in training, it’s relevant in marketing. So that’s really our strategy with LinkedIn as the professional network meeting the professional cloud. And so you were right to point out that these are all part of one overarching strategy, and ultimately it’s about adding value to customers.”
On Microsoft’s Q4 2016 earnings call this week, the firm reiterated their belief that the LinkedIn acquisition will close before the end of the calendar year.