How Microsoft will use Linked In to win the Ecosystem War

And what all business can learn from the ecosystem wars.

We tend to see individual products from the tech giants feeding us ever-more gadgets and services. Today, in fact, news leaked about Amazon developing a wearable which can detect emotion.

What is often lost however is how important each of these products and services is to customers as any one can be responsible for pulling in and keeping customers in their respective ecosystem.

Have a Nest thermostat? Now you are part of the Google ecosystem. Ring doorbell? That is Amazon and so on.

What you may have missed however is how the tech companies think of their platform’s services and value to businesses and consumers.

This 2015 Microsoft chart, which was shown by the company’s top marketing executive, Chris Capossela, during a presentation at the Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta is quite illuminating and is still important.

While Amazon is missing, it shows how the tech giants, Microsoft, Google and Apple compete . How many users do they have (denoted by circle size) and how each service relates to others in the ecosystem.

An article on Seeking Alpha explains how Linked In is growing within Microsoft and is the perfect complement to growing its ecosystem. Moreover, how the service could be used to promote Microsoft services such as teams. Another idea espoused is Linked In could become more of a consumer service to compete with Facebook – which has higher margins.

While this latter idea might make sense from an accounting point of view, Linked in users expect a different experience than Facebook. It will be tough to transition from a business social network to consumer – there can be some crossover, but these are different spaces.

There may be a way to get Xbox and Linked In to somehow spawn a consumer social networking child but that also would be a challenge as Facebook is just so strong.

There are great lessons here for all busiesses.

Open APIs and partnering are the new lubricants to growing your business. Strategic acquisitions which help the corporate ecosystem can be very valuable. Digital transformation needs to take all of this into account – what ecosystems will your company be part of? How will it all work together? Will you confuse customers If you expand into too many areas which are not related?

It is always a good idea to see what the large and successful organizations are doing and take note. Often we can learn and position our companies and careers more effectively as a result.


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