That is the multi-billion dollar question isn’t it?
I’m sure I will incur the wrath of many if I tried to think I know best, given these are some very smart and successful people at the helm of both organizations.
Based on the facts I can find in public domain, my take is,
- LinkedIn’s style of growth was brute M&A. Almost all their services were acquired from acquisitions instead of building their own. This made the company very unstable both structurally and earnings wise. They should have moved away from that. But ingeniously they made the final master move, passed the hot potato on to Microsoft (MS). For that they are better off; cos it’s no longer their money at stake.
But its bad for the user because if you are frequently on LinkedIn you can almost sense their daily push to up the user numbers and engagement frequency on LinkedIn. MS must be feeling the heat to justify the price tag to their board and shareholders. They keep changing the UI and other stuff, and again, IMHO, for the worse and not better. For that LinkedIn members are worse off.
- As to whether they’d be in the same place if MS had not bought them, I think their stock price may have kept going down if management did not change their operating style and growth strategy. Ultimately that would have either led to internal implosion (since they were struggling to be consistently profitable) or a change of CEO. But change they would have to. There are literally billions at stake for Chairman and Founder Reid Hoffman…
Hope that makes sense.