On a day when many were trying to understand the reasons for the murderous act in an Orlando nightclub killing 49 innocent people; or amused by the political spat between presidential candidates Hillary and Donald, Microsoft's deep pockets were making history. The history which can have a major impact on freelancers, contingents and independent workers in the emerging Gig Economy.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, setting aside a questionable call in the purchase of Nokia by Microsoft, saw the greater wisdom in the purchase of LinkedIn's business social media platform for $26.6 billion in cash. This might be compared to a "Moneyball" move. A label made famous by Oakland A's GM, Billy Beane and baseball statistical wiz Paul DePodesta documented in the book Moneyball, by Michael Lewis and movie starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.
I'll return to the deal specifics later. For now, let's review the benefits for LinkedIn and Microsoft 365 users -- which are widely used applications by freelancers and independent contractors.
"The deal marks the largest acquisition by Microsoft and the sixth-largest tech acquisition ever. With an acquisition, the price paid is a function of how the acquirer thinks it can leverage the existing business into new opportunities," stated Scott Ard, Editor, In Chief Silicon Valley Business Journal.
So what's the leverage point? A scalable cloud platform of 1.4 billion combined users with LinkedIn having reinvented itself as the top destination for recruiting, learning and sales for business professionals. Many who are solo, like me, and can use the integrated platform of LinkedIn and Office 365 as leverage to compete more effectively in markets I serve. It is expected that Microsoft will likely integrate LinkedIn to Microsoft's Cloud platform to offer a mesh of Outlook, Calendar, Messaging, Office 365, Skype, Dynamic CRM, Drive, Cortana and Bing with the acquired learning tools of Lynda.com and LinkedIn's Sales Navigator. These integrations in the Microsoft Cloud provides huge scale for add-ins developed to compete with the apps and extensions offered by Google on Chrome.
The outcome could be a user’s choice of bundled apps or select your configuration of apps that best suits your needs and pay a monthly fee to access it from anywhere on any device. This may eliminate keeping multiple apps open on any device. The major difference will be ease of use and selection to integrate those apps which all freelancers and independent contractors use. The outcome should mean easier use, less maintenance and administration with a low monthly fee, better Internet speeds, and more tools to operate your SMB more efficiently, competently, and profitably. Stay tuned to Gig Economy News & Reports for how this plays out over time for freelancers and independents who can survive and thrive in the emerging Gig Economy.
LinkedIn will have deeper pockets from its parent to expand beyond its reputation as a "jobs" and "career" website to add greater value to its members.
Returning to the deal specifics, Microsoft will use borrowed cash at near zero interest to make the acquisition though it has more than $100 billion held in banks offshore. Why borrow? That's a no-brainer when Microsoft would have to pay the IRS 35%, in this case over $9 billion in taxes, if Microsoft used any of that overseas cash for the deal. The great financial move, but speaks to the U.S. loss of capital to use at home with the highest tax rate in the world for offshore earning brought back to the U.S. Just one of the tax issues needed to be fixed by the next White House Administration and Congress -- good luck with that!
LinkedIn will continue to operate as a unit of Microsoft with no apparent changes in leadership at LinkedIn. Keep up with the progress. It may give independents and freelancers greater flexibility.
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