The EU has approved Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of professional-networking site LinkedIn, but only on the condition that third-party rivals and still integrate Office into their services for the next five years.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said the deal can now be passed provided that Microsoft allows rival professional networking sites to integrate its Office applications and cloud-computing services for the next five years.
PC makers in the EU will also have the option of not installing LinkedIn’s app, Microsoft said.
How Microsoft will integreate LinkedIn
With LinkedIn now officially on board, Microsoft says it will set about pursuing “a specific set of integration scenarios,” according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
According to Nadella, other imminent updates include:
Microsoft made the commitments in November after EU regulators expressed antitrust concerns about the deal. The acquisition is now expected to close in coming days, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, wrote in a company blog post.
“This is a major milestone for the company, one that we believe will accelerate how we connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, in a blog post earlier this morning.
One of the biggest tech aquisitions of all time
The deal is one of the biggest tech acquisitions of all time, and certainly the biggest in Microsoft’s history, eclipsing its acquisition of Skype for $8.5bn back in 2011.
Microsoft first announded plan in June to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, its biggest-ever acquisition.
For Microsoft, the LinkedIn deal furthers its plan to become an essential provider to businesses of cloud-based services, including its Office 365. Salesforce was also reportedly interested in making a bid for LinkedIn.
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn today claims more than 430 million members around the world and has become the social network of choice for professionals looking to build working relationsships, share news, make contacts or even look for new jobs.
“For our members, the LinkedIn that you use to advance your career, find jobs, build your network and stay informed is only going to get better,” added Weiner. “We’re going to focus on how we leverage Microsoft’s impressive scale and innovation to create more value for all of you.”
Under the deal, Microsoft said that LinkedIn would retain its “distinct brand, culture and independence”, with Jeff Weiner remaining as chief executive, reporting to Microsoft boss Satya Nadella.
A good match?
The deal unites two brands that perform strongly in the corporate sector. For Microsoft, Linkedin opens new opportunities for expand beyond software and into enterprise services while also helping it compete with the likes of Salesforce in the CRM market.
Microsoft also plans to use LinkedIn’s social graph (connections between users and companies) as an integrated selling tool alongside its existing CRM products.
Linkedin also recently expanded into online learning via its acquisition of Lynda.com- which could now be used to sell Microsoft products.
For LinkedIn, the deal provides it with powerful software to service and target its users.
View this presentation from Microsoft and LinkedIn outlining the deal here (created in June 2016):