ORLANDO – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says that LinkedIn will see integration with the software giant’s line of business software, but also remain open to third-party software tie-ins.

Responding to a question posed to him by an interviewer at the Garter Symposium on Tuesday morning, Nadella said he saw Microsoft Dynamics CRM and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator as a natural point of integration with LinkedIn because of the potential for social selling. Nadella appeared by video conference to the audience, after a minor back injury prevented him from making the trip to speak at the conference in person.

It didn’t take long before the line of questioning from Gartner’s analysts turned to LinkedIn. At a price tag of $26.2 billion, the June acquisition goes down on record as Microsoft’s biggest ever. The deal awaits regulatory clearance, and meanwhile it’s open to speculation just how the Redmond-based firm plans to make use of the premier social network for business.

“Our number one goal after the deal closes is to make LinkedIn grow as a vibrant professional network,” he says.

Satya Nadella - video - Gartner Symposium
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared at Gartner Symposium via a video link. Photo courtesy of Gartner.

Nadella’s comments are consistent with what he told the Wall Street Journal shortly after the acquisition announcement. Then, he envisioned that workers would no longer have to move back and forth between productivity software and a social network, but have access to both in one place.

Nadella also touched on how Microsoft will handle user data on LinkedIn. With the acquisition, it will have more than 400 million profiles of business professionals at its fingertips.

“Your data is your data,” he said. “We are just custodians of that data and we have to provide value on that for our customers.”

Microsoft has a four-pillar approach to privacy, Nadella says.

  1. Keep customer data secure.
  2. Provide transparency.
  3. Give users control. (Eg. Cortana’s Notebook feature shows a user all the information Cortana knows about them. They can delete it if wanted.)
  4. Be compliant with regulations.

Nadella described LinkedIn as valuable in helping its members achieve their hiring, selling, and marketing objectives. Basically, what it’s been doing consistently for the past five years.

“I think a professional network that allows people to realize their potential in terms of their economic opportunity is needed,” he says.

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is expected to close this calendar year.


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