This Monday, something big happened: Microsoft announced it would be acquiring LinkedIn for 26.2 billion dollars. Microsoft’s most expensive move in a long time, it has implications for the business community beyond the simple fact that we must now fear intrusive prompts to update to Windows 10 on this professional network. It shows that a change is happening, and Microsoft is adapting to it.
LinkedIn’s acquisition shows that Microsoft has been placing an ever increasing amount of effort and money into a transition to Cloud Computing and the Internet. Cloud Computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. This technology has many uses, which range from allowing one to access data from anywhere, regardless of the computer used, to making that same data more resilient to accidents or attacks.
For some time now, the Silicon Valley tech giant has been progressively moving away from its traditional software model, and into the Cloud. Chances are you have already seen this yourself. For example, if you use any of the more recent Microsoft Office programs, you may have noticed that you can now automatically save your documents to OneDrive, Microsoft’s own Cloud storage service. Some, like One Note, even automatically sync a copy on your computer with a version on OneDrive.
So what does this mean for you? Well for one, if you are an entrepreneur working in Software or Information Technology, it might be worth your time to seriously consider making forays into Cloud Computing yourself. When a giant like Microsoft declares its intentions of seriously heading into the Cloud by making such a huge acquisition, it is not just making a bet, it is also rigging the table in its favor by the mere act of making this bet. Of course, this does not mean you should “buy” into this idea Microsoft is selling, but it can generally be considered a safe bet to surf on the waves Microsoft created by dropping 26.2 billion dollars into the sea.
However, even if you have never touched a computer as part of your own project, or do not have a single drop of technical blood in you, there are still things to be learned from Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, and audacious bet on the Cloud. Microsoft rose to greatness under Bill Gates as a PC software company, an aspect of itself that is currently sacrificing in its bid for the Cloud. As entrepreneurs, we must always remain open to new possibilities, and be ready to grasp them as they come. Even if moving forwards can mean going out of our comfort zone, and leaving behind what we are if it is holding us back. Even Microsoft, who PC software led from tiny startup to tech giant, shows its willingness to abandon this if it is necessary to move forwards.