There’s been plenty of speculation on the reasons why Microsoft would bid $26 billion to acquire the social-networking service LinkedIn, with most focused on the considerable short-term benefits. The long-term possibilities may be even more important, according to a report for Quartz.
Microsoft’s Office Suite is already a dominating force in the productivity-tool market. By adding LinkedIn to its portfolio, Microsoft could position itself to not only have the products that help employees do their jobs, but also provide educational resources to help them get hired.
“Microsoft can drive the evolution of the competency marketplace in ways LinkedIn as a standalone company couldn’t,” said Ryan Craig, managing director of University Ventures, a private equity fund focused on the higher-ed sector. “They can offer a complete human-resources solution.”
LinkedIn already makes two-thirds of its revenue through solutions for HR departments and tools that deliver leads to salespeople. LinkedIn also owns Lynda.com, an online education platform that provides skills training.
“One could imagine a much bigger role for LinkedIn as competency-based education goes mainstream,” Joshua Kim wrote in his Insider Higher Education technology blog. “The switch from time-based to skill-based credentialing will be hugely important for some (although not all) sectors of higher education. LinkedIn has the potential to combine professional networking with just-in-time training and alternative credentialing.”