If you've spent any time looking for greener professional pastures in the past few years your path has undoubtedly crossed with LinkedIn.
Touted as "The Facebook for business" the social networking site promised the same kind of experience in the professional world. Career consultants and HR types lauded it as an invaluable resource for connecting with the hiring movers and shakers in industry. It was supposed to be the missing link between casting your resume into the void of Monster.com and a lunch date with your potential boss.
Which it was. That is, so long as you actually knew someone.
Just like any other social network its usefulness is limited by the people you actually know. The sad reality is you're more likely to run into people you never want to see again than anyone that could give you a leg up.
Worse, over the years LinkedIn has become infected with the same resume-stacking, quota chasing, recruiter types on the job boards that send you emails like this...
We have Informatica Architect available @ Charlotte, NC area. He is looking opportunities only @ NC, TX and GA areas. If anyone is having requirements in that areas. Kindly share me the job details along with the client information. We are marketing around $75-80/hr c2c.
Thanks for your time…
Spammy D Recruiter
Ph: 555- 555- 0412
Yeah, UMMM, I'm actually looking for work not hiring and that other thing....I live in Arizona....
So what does this have to do with Microsoft? Are they looking to take on ZipRecruiter?
It's just the latest reach into the dream of ubiquity dearly held by Microsoft CEO's. They already have a hand in Facebook, Android and gaming. They've owned the office for years and this latest purchase is proof of their intention to keep it.
The most likely outcome from the $26.2 billion dollar deal is to absorb the analytics capabilities of the LinkedIn platform and place yet another useless live-tile flashing in the Windows 10 start menu.
So how has all this buying paid off for Microsoft?
A look at their buying habits reveals that they're better at acquiring stocks than companies.
Let's compare and contrast....
Microsoft invests $150 million in Apple ultimately saving the company and enjoying a tidy profit when the stock splits and they sell it a few years later. Oh yeah, and they have a guaranteed space on a competitors platform for Office.
Microsoft buys Skype for $8.5 Billion and turns an innovative, lightweight VOIP solution into a bloated mess with a paywall making it among the most hated services in its portfolio.
Next, they kill off the beloved Windows Messenger after buying Yammer for $1.2 billion. Once positioned as Messenger's hipster "Facebook-esque"replacement it was never heard from again outside of an Office 365 subscription.
It seems Microsoft's acquisition strategy is to buy up companies that are just past their heyday, gut them then take a write-down later. Kind of like when IBM purchased ROLM and Lotus.
LinkedIn is no different. It's only useful to those HR types that have to meet a contact quota every week and enjoy self-congratulating articles about what a good job the industry has done commoditizing job seekers like so much cattle at an auction.
Mark my words, this isn't a good thing for Microsoft. At least no more than Nokia was going to win them market share in the mobile space or Skype was going to supplant Cisco's VOIP offerings.
But all is not lost! Take heart friends because every time Microsoft screws up another tech company the resulting void proves to be a boon for the open source community.
Which is almost as bad but at least you're free of Microsoft's incessant sales campaigns and licensing boondoggles.
I got off LinkedIn a couple of months ago precisely because the service did nothing for me but fill my inbox with spam. It's a service in decline which made it a ripe target for Microsoft.
Meaning a change in ownership, especially when its Microsoft, won't make it any more attractive.
I'm just not interested in turning my next job search into another Microsoft marketing opportunity...