Psst, need to flog a turkey like LinkedIn? nicely, phone up Microsoft John Naughton

Microsoft paid $26.2bn for the social networking service, LinkedIn.

There’s something irresistibly comical approximately the spectacle of two CEOs saying a pleasanttakeover. the two chaps (for they are still usually chaps) stand side through facet, grinning into the cameras. The proud new owner explains what a tremendous outfit his present day acquisition is, howpleased he is with the deal, extols the “synergies” so one can magically materialise once the marriage is consummated and expresses his undying admiration for the negative schmuck who’s now his trendysubordinate.

The schmuck, for his element, broadcasts his timeless admiration for his new boss and his deep respect for the huge organization into whose maw he is ready to vanish. He, too, is “pretty excited” via the brand new horizons that are now open to him and his colleagues. the marriage is a excellent deal for eachcompanies – a win-win outcome no much less. The truth that he omits to mention how a whole lot he has personally crafted from the deal is tactfully neglected through his admiring media audience.

ultimate week’s announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn accompanied this script to the letter. The Redmond giant paid $26.2bn in coins for the enterpriseoriented social networking carrier that had fallen on tough instances. Its increase rate had dramatically slowed, it makes no income and much lessthan 1 / 4 of its 433 million members go to it once a month. it’s miles, as the economic instances sniffily declared, “a fixer-top in an iffy neighbourhood” of the internet.Spot on. As a manic deployer of clueless algorithms, LinkedIn is probably the maximum disturbing social networking carrier in the international. i used to be as soon as a member, not because i used to be searching out a process but because of a naive perception that every person who writes about these items must use it. but after I commenced toget hold of messages pronouncing that entire strangers had “recommended” me for features for which I had sought no endorsement whatsoever, I deleted my account. That changed into in 2012. i’m stillreceiving emails from people on LinkedIn inviting me to “join” with them.

What in the world possessed Microsoft to put out $26bn for this turkey? on the assertion, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, enthused about the “competitive advantage” he expects the community to offer for Microsoft. “The LinkedIn team has grown a remarkable enterprise,” he burbled, “centred on connecting the world’s specialists. collectively we will boost up the growth of LinkedIn, in addition to Microsoft office365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower anyone and organisation in the world.”

Oh yeah? And pigs might also fly in close formation.

One purpose for Microsoft shopping for LinkedIn is definitely that it could. The business enterprise is sitting on a $100bn cash pile and has to do something with it. Microsoft is a huge, stable and worthwhilebusiness enterprise and is probably to remain so for a long time. despite the fact that its runningdevice and office software program products are, in one feel, “legacy” agencies, they stay profitabledue to the fact a majority of the sector’s business enterprises and governments have standardised on them, and that dependancy isn’t going to cease soon. And Microsoft has constructed an excellent cloud computing business. So whilst the $26bn paid for LinkedIn isn’t precisely unfastened exchange, there’slots extra wherein that came from.A extra persuasive reason for the acquisition is that Microsoft, havingignored the social networking boat, is making a frantic try to climb aboard earlier than it’s too late.regrettably, however, it’s miles too past due: that boat has sailed. And although fb, with its 1.65 billioncustomers, is currently now not focused on commercial enterprise use, if Mark Zuckerberg thoughtthere has been extreme revenue in it, a version of fb for commercial enterprise could wipe out the whole thing in its route.

In that experience, the purchase of LinkedIn reminds one among Microsoft’s acquisition in September 2013 of the mobile cellphone property of Nokia, the Finnish telecoms giant. That deal became masterminded (ifthat is the right phrase) through Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, and likewise represented adesperate try to rectify an in advance strategic blunder, specifically Microsoft’s failure to identify thetelephone revolution that have been launched by means of Apple in 2007. The Nokia undertakingbecame out to be an unmitigated disaster and led to Microsoft writing off a lack of $7.9bn in July final 12 months.

All of and is the reason why the sight of the Microsoft and LinkedIn bosses celebrating their interesting new deal reminded a few observers of Marx’s crack about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second one as farce. individually, I choose Samuel Johnson’s celebrated description of 2nd marriages. They constitute, he said, “the triumph of hope over experience”. Which in this case is spot on.