Okay, you’ve read countless opinion pieces on the blockbuster deal where Microsoft paid a notable (nearly 9x) premium for LinkedIn. One could argue that it’s about time someone snatched up LinkedIn…that was my initial reaction, and perhaps yours too. But why Microsoft, and why now? Well, it should be obvious that this is a B2B play. In fact, our own Melissa Parrish eloquently outlined the minimal relevance to B2C firms in her blog post yesterday.
However, this morning, Melissa and several other colleagues here at Forrester published our quick take on what this deal really means. It breaks down to 3 fundamental things:
- Data. As today's marketing tech goes, Microsoft lags significantly in two areas: customer identity management and proprietary data assets. LinkedIn solves that problem by integrating 433 million LinkedIn profiles. Microsoft will get its hands on data about how those individuals use products like Office 365, email, and Skype.
- CRM. Microsoft is clearly firing a shot across the bow of Salesforce. In the CRM space, Dynamics has some traction in the enterprise, but it has traditionally been an alternative for small and medium-size businesses requiring more accessible price points than Salesforce commands.