No longer able to rely on the dominance of Windows to guarantee its position in enterprise software, Microsoft makes the largest ever acquisition of an internet company with its purchase of LinkedIn – bumping Facebook's $19bn purchase of WhatsApp from the top slot. Microsoft aims to integrate LinkedIn's member identities and depth of data across its suite of productivity and business-process applications, providing it with a differentiator to sustain its market position.
CEO Satya Nadella has taken strides to make Microsoft a 'mobile first, cloud first' company in his two-plus years heading the software giant. The acquisition of LinkedIn marks his most substantial move yet, and not just in terms of the price tag. Many cloud software offerings from major enterprise software companies are little more than hosted versions of legacy products. By integrating LinkedIn, Microsoft will bring potential features, functionality and benefits to its software that take advantage of the shared infrastructure and connectivity that are unique to cloud offerings, and enable Microsoft's products to benefit from LinkedIn's network effects, which will make it challenging for competitors to match.
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