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LinkedIn Bought by Microsoft in $26.2 Billion Deal

LinkedIn will have a chance to “change how the world works”, after being bought by Microsoft in a $26.2 billion (£18.5 billion) mega deal, according to the business-oriented online network.

The announcement sent LinkedIn’s shares rocketing up by 49% when Wall Street opened shortly afterwards, and the development crowns the remarkable success of the network, which was founded in 2002 and floated on the stock market in 2011.

In a statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted at the possibilities that would now be opened up by the acquisition, which could see LinkedIn worked into Microsoft Office’s development paths.

Mr Nadella explained: “The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centred on connecting the world’s professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organisation on the planet.”

It looks like LinkedIn chairman Jeff Weiner will stay in his current position as the firm’s president, reporting to Mr Nadella. Although the deal has been agreed by the two boards involved, it is not expected to be fully completed until the end of the year.

So, what could the news mean for the future of LinkedIn, and its members? Microsoft’s ownership is undoubtedly positive for the long term stability of LinkedIn, and we are likely to see more crossover with Microsoft Office’s capabilities, allowing for the easier sharing of documents and presentations. A chance to match up the capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud will also present itself, possibly giving members the option to save their files on LinkedIn for easy sending and sharing with other members.

On the flip side, the huge backing provided by Microsoft looks set to effectively end any competition with similar professional networks, with LinkedIn cementing its position as ‘the’ online professional network. LinkedIn will be keen to ensure this stranglehold over the market doesn’t lead to complacency, and they should seek to innovate and put the user first, in the same way that Google and Facebook, kings in their own market segments, have endeavoured to do.

The Microsoft LinkedIn takeover represents a coming of age for the network, and, in case anyone was ever in any doubt, LinkedIn is here to stay.