Microsoft announced in June that it would be purchasing professional social network LinkedIn in a cash deal worth $26.2 billion. The purchase will further cement Microsoft into the world of social media after previous deals with Facebook and the acquisition of Yammer in 2012.
A deal this large requires approval from regulators around the world and today Microsoft received its final approval. Other agencies in the United States, Canada, Brazil, and South Africa have already reviewed and cleared the deal. By passing the European Commission, Microsoft is set finalize the acquisition.
The long delay in approval stems from the European Court's requirement that Microsoft preserve competition among other social networks. Microsoft will be incorporating LinkedIn into their Office Add-in program and other products. This will integrate the social network into Office and Windows. Regulators voiced concern about the deal being used to unfairly target other social networks. Microsoft agreed to play nice and will not require or enter into agreements with PC manufacturers to pre-install LinkedIn on their products. They will let users and administrators customize their Office experience by disabling LinkedIn if the feature is unwanted. Microsoft also agreed to allow promotional opportunities in the Office store for other social networking services.
In a blog post highlighting the final details, Microsoft described an effort to help those in the workforce succeed, bringing better digital tools to schools and better data to those pursuing jobs, and for governments to create opportunities.
Microsoft promised the deal would close before the end of 2016 and they can finally relax as things wrap up in the next few days. Look to see LinkedIn more heavily integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem in the future as well as programs targeting societal issues facing the workforce.