LinkedIn to Join the Microsoft Suite

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

LinkedIn to Join the Microsoft Suite

Let's start Monday with some small transactions.

First up, Blue Coat is selling itself to Symantec for $4.65 Billion. The cyber-security software company was going to go public via an IPO, but chose the private sale route, which seemed a safer bet for the PE firm, Bain Capital, that bought Blue Coat in 2015 for $2.4B and financed acquisitions to bolster the product portfolio to annual revenues of $598 Million. Blue Coat lost $289 million in those same 12 months. Good deal for Symantec, who sold its Veritas data storage unit to the Carlyle Group for $7.4 billion earlier this year.

BitTitan, the cloud services enablement specialist, has announced that it has closed a $15 million round of Series A financing led by TVC Capital, according to Channel Vision mag.

Speaking of IPO, twilio filed for one. VoIP Logic has an interesting take on it here.

Two Rhode Island based IT firms merge. "Carousel Industries, a leader in communication and network technologies, professional and managed services and cloud solutions, today announced its intent to acquire Atrion, Inc., a leading IT services firm specializing in security, productivity and collaboration, unified communications, networking, applications and integrations and data center solutions." This kind of PR is annoying to me because no one - even with 1300 employees - can be a "leader" in every aspect of IT and comms. And most mergers don't even come close to 1+ 1 = 3. Rarely do you get 1+1=2. It is usually 1+1=1.

Now for the big news: Microsoft is buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash. I have no idea why everyone is calling this a real-time comms project. The adoption of Slack changed everything. You can see it in how other projects have pivoted or added features, like containers, groupware, video and voice calling.

To me this seems more like a continuation of efforts to be a portal for employees that Sharepoint started. As Microsoft works on Sharepoint revisions (to look more like Slack?), they have to be thinking of ways to compete with Facebook and the myriad social networks that are taking up eyeballs, video and chatting away from telcos and enterprise communication systems.

Slack's loudest benefit is the reduction in email, which means less time people spend in Outlook. Cisco Spark will have people doing everything from a single GUI (in theory). That means Office365 is just one of the integrated services.

Do you need MS Office suite if your resume is on LinkedIn, docs are shared on a collab platform, databases are in the cloud, and contacts are on your phone?

No one wants Windows 10 and its all seeing activity tracking. Add that to LinkedIn and MS will know an awful lot about a lot of people. Almost as much as Google and Facebook know.

Microsoft has tried this before with acquisitions of Lync, Yammer and Skype. It takes them years to get the integration right (if at all). Remember, they bought Skype in 2011 for $8.2B and didn't really get the integration until 2014.

Maybe this is their new mobile strategy... LinkedIn, a clunky platform for resumes and social networking that as of late has many users frustrated and disappointed. Will we see Lync integration in LinkedIn soon? Click to email, call, chat, video anyone in your network? Oh, won't that be fun from a noise stand point.

They just dumped Nokia and took a huge write off on that mess. Have they made any money yet on Skype?

According to the MS CEO, it is all about the professional network meeting the professional network: "Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional's information in LinkedIn's public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics."

Even this LinkedIn fan boy isn't sure what Microsoft is doing with Azure, Xbox, Win10 because he is on Chrome. The way I see it, LinkedIn in two years becomes integrated into Outlook, Office365, Win10, Sharepoint and Dynamics. Some of that will look like Salesforce and (although Salesforce got a deal on Jigsaw in 2010.) The social graph adds a piece that MS doesn't currently have.

It will be interesting to see how is utilized by the combined entity. Will that become a tile on Win10 and Xbox? Probably. The deal slides are on Scrbd.

For segments of the marketplace this Microsoft centric move will make sense. Others will turn to Google for Work or Facebook for Work - or an IBM suite if they ever resurrect Lotus Notes & Domino into a true competitor for enterprise. Spark may take some of this. Add Apache Open Office to Spark and what do you need MS for?

What will also happen is that another online Rolodex will make some headway in this space, the same way that Snapchat took from the other social apps.

A bunch of investors are going to look at this and push more transactions. Facebook and Google hardly ever play follower, but they might shop for an online resume platform like JibberJobber - or a jobs board like Indeed or Monster to put some pressure on Microsoft and LinkedIn. If nothing else, that type of data can only add to the social graph that both of them have. This creates an opportunity for someone because there is a window of about two years before this integrates. We live in a first mover marketplace.

$26 Billion in cash, like money is nothing. Will this be a bigger debacle than Nokia?

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