postcard from LinkedIn

I first saw it in the news yesterday - Microsoft have bought LinkedIn for an eye-watering US $26 billion. The deal still needs to get approval, but that's likely to be forthcming.

So, what happens now?

There's an unhappy history with Microsoft and other organisations with other ideas. Anyone else remember Bill Gates trying to replace the internet? Don't get me wrong, LinkedIn isn't perfect, and it certainly needs some work, but is the Microsoft monolith the right source of new ideas?

I appreciate that I'm fairly cynical, but when was the last time Microsoft had a truely original idea? It made some impressive sounding claims about the future when it bought Nokia, but that didn't work out for existing Windows phone users or for Nokia.

I can understand the attraction of LinkedIn. It's the online meeting place for professionals in just about any industry you care to name, which means there's a huge amount of valuable personal data available. Profiles, skills and recommendations are already worth a lot, and will become even more valuable in the future. Particularly when you think about the number of subscribers.

For me the issue isn't about the safety of my personal data which is currently part of the LinkedIn service, it more fundamental. In the past, Microsoft have tried to change what they buy, change it so that it works "the Microsoft way". As I said before, LinkedIn needs work, but I really don't want it to become just another poor quality Microsoft service.

I hope I'm proven wrong.

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