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Microsoft buys LinkedIn: What it means for designers

By Marc Schenker Posted Jun. 13, 2016 Reading time: 1 minute

On Monday, Microsoft and LinkedIn announced that Microsoft would buy LinkedIn in an all-cash deal for $196 a share, at $26.2 billion. In a news release on the Microsoft website, both companies vowed that LinkedIn would however, retain its unique culture and brand, essentially remaining independent of new parent Microsoft.

This deal has a slew of interesting implications for designers and networking in general. One of the biggest possibilities for designers is the new advantage of sitting down with either leads or clients in meetings and being able to talk about relevant information with confidence.

Here’s how it will work: Microsoft’s personal digital assistant, Cortana, is good today for doing simple things for users, such as seeing what’s on their calendars and then recommending to them the best times for them to leave their location to be on time for a meeting. That’s still quite limited, which is what Microsoft is hoping will change thanks to its LinkedIn acquisition.

Because of LinkedIn’s voluminous data on professionals, it may be possible in the near future for designers to walk into a meeting with their leads or clients and know everything about their professional backgrounds, résumés, and goals. All it would take is for designers to use Microsoft’s Office products, which would be linked up with Cortana…which would itself be able to see their leads’ or clients’ information on LinkedIn.

Say goodbye to the days of designers walking into meetings blind. Designers looking to effectively network would get a boost, too.

Thanks to this acquisition, it’s now possible to integrate LinkedIn data on professionals within Office 365. This can lead to new and better experiences for designers who are, say, looking to complete a certain project, yet don’t quite know to whom to turn for guidance, inspiration, resources or help.

Although this purchase means good things for designers, there are also other reasons that LinkedIn agreed to Microsoft’s offer. Its stock price hasn’t been doing well, its ad business was seeing challenges, and its growth was less than stellar according to Recode.

The LinkedIn newsfeed, which today is somewhat spotty in terms of value, could be transformed into a very useful feed that presents designers with articles that are relevant to projects they’re working on. At the same time, Office 365 could recommend, based on the LinkedIn data, specific professionals designers can work with to complete their projects with more efficiency and mastery than ever. This is a scenario envisioned by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an email to employees.

This deal has big implications for designers who want to take their networking to the next level. With LinkedIn integration, designers using Microsoft products like Office 365 now have the tools at their disposal to tackle meetings and interviews with more intelligence and, therefore, more confidence in closing the deal than ever before.

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