That should fray nerves at Google, and raise pressure on it to respond with an acquisition of its own, one aimed at expanding its reach with business customers. It had already informally sounded out some mid-market business-focused cloud apps for acquisition earlier this year.
Over the past year, the search giant has directed considerable attention and resources to building out a sizable enterprise operation, an attempt to diversify its business (an ads one). One of the two pillars of the operation, apps for businesses, competes head-on with Microsoft.
And now Microsoft has a pool of valuable data — based on personal and professional information — that Google, despite its expensive past efforts, does not.
Google will have to answer — particularly since one product Microsoft said LinkedIn will assist with is Cortana, its artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant. AI is a linchpin feature that Google is using with its enterprise software sales pitch. Google's AI is widely considered best in the industry; but with LinkedIn's data, Microsoft could have a critical edge in its offering that trumps Google.