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Media Enterprise

LinkedIn is Microsoft’s Sales Software Play

LinkedIn is one of the most-used pieces of sales software on earth, disguised as a social network. But it’s had a tough time turning its sales business into a money-maker, instead relying on recruiting and marketing tools to bring in the bulk of its revenue. Paired with Microsoft’s more fully fledged sales software and massive distribution network, LinkedIn’s data could be potent.

That’s why Microsoft’s $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn is the Redmond company’s major play in sales software. It will end, for now, long-simmering talk that Microsoft might buy Salesforce. The deal is also likely the answer to why Microsoft held off installing new leaders in its own sales software unit, Dynamics.

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One of the most intriguing things Microsoft will be buying in LinkedIn is an active open-source software contributor. Facebook and Twitter have been big producers of open-source software, and so has LinkedIn.