You could make a case that Minecraft is the professional network of 10-year-olds, but you’d have to work pretty hard at it. That’s not what Satya Nadella means when he uses Minecraft as an example of why LinkedIn was a great acquisition target for Microsoft, speaking to Bloomberg today in an interview reflecting on Microsoft as a company advancing in years.
Here’s the key point Nadella makes in drawing a comparison between the two seemingly disparate acquisitions, which share the distinction of being the two largest deals in terms of dollar value Microsoft has made under his leadership:
When I look at both Minecraft and LinkedIn, they’re great businesses that are growing. And so, in fact, if anything, our core job is to take that franchise and give it more momentum. In the case of Minecraft, it’s the biggest PC game, and we are the PC company. Their growth was moving to console. We have a console. Therefore, we are the perfect owner. Same thing with LinkedIn. They’re a professional network for the world. We have the professional cloud.
It’s an interesting parallel, and possibly the most concise explanation of what sounds like the key deciding factor in both cases. Microsoft sees itself as possessing the platforms that can propel to the next stage companies that still possess growth potential.
Many people have extrapolated that LinkedIn could indeed bring a lot of value as a kind of social network layer woven throughout Office 365 and Microsoft’s other professional cloud offerings, and, indeed, it does make sense that Nadella would see its cloud services as roughly equivalent to what Xbox represents for Mojang’s world builder.
If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe try taking this rubric and applying it to other potential big name acquisition targets Microsoft might seek out next. Twitter, for instance: Does Microsoft make anything that could take its potential and expose it to a whole new audience to help light a fire under network growth?