"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Microsoft's Deal to Acquire LinkedIn : Blessing or Bane?

Can LinkedIn prosper under Microsoft rule?

At Forbes, Mark Rogowsky asks: For Microsoft, LinkedIn Deals Looks Awfully Familiar But Is It Familiarly Awful?.

Microsoft has not been very successful in acquiring companies in the past so it is a very legitimate question as to whether LinkedIn will change that picture.

We think that the reason for Microsoft's past failures with acquired companies is to be found in a navel-gazing "company culture" that presumably has arisen out of its near-monopoly market position with the former DOS and now Windows operating systems ("OS").

Microsoft's dominant OS position has seemingly created a climate in which the company and its staff are used to doing what THEY want to do and not necessarily what the users want (or need).

The terrible Metro interface -- only mildly corrected in Windows 10 -- is one example of this phenomenon, marked by squares "off"-colored to meet a skewed concept of "designer art" having no apparent rhyme or organized reason for being. Color for the sake of color is not design. At least various types of programs could have been "color-coded". "Orange" for .exe, e.g., etc. Or "sky blue" for browsers. Nothing of the kind has happened. It is just a haphazard conglomeration of rather dreary shades, and that from a company with billions at their disposal. It all looks adolescent. Who can explain it?

That kind of "we do what we want" arrogance may work in developing and selling Windows and Office, but it works only because of a near-monopoly dominance where users are more or less forced to take what they are given.

Such a unilateral "me-oriented" corporate philosophy does not bide well, however, for acquisitions of companies engaged in real market competition.

The Nokia acquisition is a good example, culminating in Microsoft offering "Windows" phones that THEY (Microsoft) wanted to sell to promote THEIR "Metro" OS interface rather than offering phones for their OWN quality on the basis of what THE USERS needed and wanted to buy (in competitive markets).

We see this as well in the case of Microsoft acquisition Skype -- the graphic interface of which, however, has gotten worse since Microsoft acquired it, with staff and programmers implementing changes that few users want or need, rather than offering useful improvements FOR THE USER.

It is difficult to see how Microsoft's "take it or leave it" approach towards users will be beneficial to LinkedIn, which, rather, needs to upscale its presentation to meet the demands of the modern social media world.