Predictions of LinkedIn’s Acquisitions Strategy (& therefore Microsoft’s Strategy?)

So I’ve been looking at the acquisition history of LinkedIn on Crunchbase and I can kind of get a gist for what they are doing and what they are planning for the future…

It looks like they are heading a bit towards the Marketing Automation front with their acquisition of Pointdrive. Right now pointdrive.com is basically a landing page stating they were acquired by LinkedIn. I think this means that either the transition is too new to be fully integrated so far or their following might have been strong enough to leave the page up.

Right before pointdrive however it looks like they acquired Runhop also in the Marketing Automation realm. I’m not sure at what stage Runhop was in, but their website doesn’t appear to be there anymore. It’s possible that they acquired Runhop for the people is what I’m thinking, but definitely only an opinion. There is no redirect to LinkedIn either…

And of course we know that LinkedIn has been working on its HR/Job Board strategy for a while. They acquired Connectifier, but it doesn’t seem to redirect to LinkedIn yet, so maybe it’s brand was starting to get known. I think it might end up in their “LinkedIn Business” suite when it’s all said and done, like Careerify did.

And before they started into their LinkedIn Business platform, they seemed to have been testing out the HR/Job Board idea for a while with the acquisition of Bright, which now just redirects to LinkedIn.

What’s interesting was their acquisition of Bizo, which is a marketing platform. They’ve already incorporated it into their LinkedIn Business solution, so I’m thinking that this LinkedIn Business might be the avenue that they go to market with their potential Marketing Automation path. Or it is possible that they intend to make it into a fuller Sales/Marketing type solution with CRM capabilities with the acquisition of Fliptop. Right now fliptop turned into the sales navigator solution, but I see the full CRM, Marketing Automation package coming within the next few years. 

You can’t really go wrong by “Crushing It”, like the book, by having a strong following before you productize.

While there are a few others that just went in to making LinkedIn’s main platform better like, Refresh.io and Newsle, what kind of has me stumped is where they are going with the acquisition of Lynda.com, a learning platform. It hasn’t been rebranded as of yet and it is being incorporated into LinkedIn, if not immediately, I believe pretty soon. 

So overall, I think they’re headed towards a major Sales/Marketing/Marketing Automation Tool. Now if they would only put in some project management tools and product tools like productboard into it (and I’m thinking that productboard is heading down that path to combine the two anyways see: this post, I would jumpship from Salesforce.

Now that I’ve spilled my guts about Linkedin’s acquisition strategy (not that I am in any way affiliated with any of the companies I mention), I am curious as to what the influence from Microsoft has been to them so far in Microsofts acquisition of LinkedIn. 

Is Microsoft going to scrap their own CRM platforms and just build up LinkedIn into it? I guess to be a real competitor with Saleforce that might be what they have to do, especially since Microsoft is the big guns and in the “World of Marketing Warfare” you’ve gotta be bigger, and fight harder to protect you position on such a strategic front. I think that looking backwards, Microsoft will have an even better edge on list building/prospecting solutions than even Salesforce does with Data.com. It will just need some work and AI to turn LinkedIn into an actionable leads database rather than the unqualified leads you get with some of those sources (not saying that Data.com is one of them), that need their data cleaned up pretty bad (you know who you are…)

So to wrap it all up:

Microsoft is trying to dominate the Sales/Marketing domain with LinkedIn, LinkedIn is ramping up their solutions towards it and Lynda is the outlier that has me confused. 

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