What if Microsoft bought LinkedIn AND Facebook?

Let’s assume Microsoft understood why they would need either or both of them. They can certainly afford too buy both.

So assuming Microsoft saw value in acquiring both LinkedIn and Facebook, and managed to do so – what would change? What COULD change?

Microsoft would suddenly own the fastest growing Social Network AND the most established Business Network. What could they do with them?

If I were Microsoft I would immediately add OpenID to both platforms in a prominent way. I would not require a Microsoft Live ID to get a Microsoft OpenID – but if a user already had one I would attach it to the other. Suddenly I would have one of the largest OpenID networks on the planet.

I would build an API that connected the two in meaningful ways. I would open that API to others.

Microsoft could then also define the API that the Internet uses to connect disparate services. At least a huge part of it. And if they can drive adoption of the API as a standard then they are well placed to become the “hub” of the Internet. If you are sitting in the middle of ANYTHING you are well suited to profit regardless of what others do.

I don’t think it is a far reach for Microsoft to acquire BOTH of these companies in the coming months. I don’t see a better opportunity for Microsoft to seriously change the online landscape and send competitors (Google, Yahoo) scrambling. Sometimes the best defensive business strategy is to put your competition in chaos.

If Microsoft bought LinkedIn and Facebook chaos would follow.

But wouldn’t it be fun to watch?

Comments

  1. @Marshal – enjoy your trip. I’ve enjoyed the conversation! Feel free to ping me at any time – my contact info is on the About page.

    Rob

  2. Some real hard data has to be developed on who is the Facebook Audience ! A testing site is excellent, maybe we might have to create
    categories of interest wthin Facbook ! Facebook Podcasting,Facebook Video,Facebook Readers Choice etc ! If we appeal to peoples hobbies and skills they will possibly? Participate ! Today the net is splattered with sites for varied interests ! But the categories should be well displayed not splattered all over the site ! In short I think all social sites need a well planned index ! Categories should be able to be accessed but not on my facebook home page ! Behind my Home page Facebook should control and edit the categories ! Many apps that you add to your Facebook site should be indexed on the Home Page but be accessed by going to their own specific area ! This would at least let us know what site are collecting the users ? My wife and I are leaving for Az Sept 5 for 8 days ! You ahve given me a lot to think about ! My Facebook page is ” Ok With Corrections Needed!”

  3. @Marshal – The real value to Microsoft or Google is not a subscription service. In fact, it’s more like Facebook would be a giant Petri dish where Google or Microsoft could plant an organism (new online application) and see how it grows. A place they could quickly make changes, roll out new features, test buggy code, etc. Something Microsoft and Google are both feeling pressure to not do on their “prime” properties.

    I’m not even suggesting that Microsoft buy Facebook/LinkedIn with a goal of making a profit – the value to Google or Microsoft might reach far beyond if Facebook makes a dollar or not.

    The real question is, can you take that Facebook audience and drive it to your existing and profitable services?

    If you can, it’s a worthy consideration.

    Rob

  4. Yes adding the apps give excellent benefit to the user ! Facebook is fun at this point but business exists for profit it has no heart, Facebook must hold the user who, in time becomes a consumer of advertised products ! Face book has added some interesting apps but as of yet there is no area for The Components you suggest ! If business apps were added would you pay ? Let us say $10.00 per month for Facebook ! Or do we take our Five Billion Dollars and put 2 Billion in Mobile Oil 2Billion in Apple 1 Billion In Microsoft ! The new Social Media is attracting a lot of attention and some Dollars ! I think to command a price these web based tools are the secret of future investment in these networks ! 😈 for example Twitter is attracting a lot of attention ! I am on it ,but to date the only person that I get any real content from is Steve Rubel ! Most of my other info is coming from the Times Reader and select blogs ! Facebook may need real world content since the Media I grew up with is a dead as Custer ! also face book needs a Browser in put like Stumble Upon ! Or theirs should have more features ! I am not a techie but feel the Browser input should take the user to all features !

  5. @Marshal – I think Facebook could benefit either through the existing users – the “eyeballs”. Certainly they could monetize the site with their respective ads, but even more importantly it give them a platform for launching new web-based tools that would already have a built-in audience.

    For example, Facebook could add Google or Microsoft online Office components, calendars, email, etc.

    Most importantly though is the data that the web site learns about their customer – and the way they interact and connect with each other. That is extremely valuable information that would benefit either Microsoft OR Google.

    Rob

  6. Interesting ! But not sure Microsoft would really promote a social network ! Msn.com vs Google.com! You may be right any way at least we have some dialogue going ! In an other vein how could Facebook benefit either firm !

  7. @Marshal – replace Microsoft above wherever you typed “Google” and the same would be true.

    Rob

  8. What if after one year Bill Gates has sold out ? :roll: Many times investors can get a better return buy owning a firm that is well run and well managed by it’s founders ! Would you sell Johnson and Johnson if you owned it ! Also how does Facebook fit with Microsoft!
    Great Plains which Microsoft bought fits in because it is an accounting software firm ! It has an item to sell ! Microsoft is a sales and marketing firm ! Facebook and Google fit better ! Google could really promote facebook content ! Combine my Google home page and my facebook page ! With Google Apps ! I am 71 years old been around Marketing and Belly to Belly Selling all my life ! Google is a
    great study in Branding and the use of General Semanitcs ! Facebook is words ! Google is Words ! Google in a short time has developed a
    Brand Identity as strong as Coca Cola ! Attach Facebook to Google Pages with a twitter type Microblogging app you got a winner ! All my
    opinions are ” Ok With Coreections!”

  9. @Marshal – you might be right. But if MS offered Facebook 5 Billion USD I think it would be very difficult for Facebook to pass it up. They do have investors that expect a return. And 5 billion USD is one hell of a return!

    Rob

  10. I am not sure Facebook would command the best price by selling out so soon!
    They have just started to Brand!