Why did Microsoft pay top dollar for LinkedIn?

Microsoft buys LinkedIn, Facebook prepares to kill the written word and hackers find Donald Trump’s darkest secrets. Read all about it in this week’s tech roundup.

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First, the big one: Microsoft announced plans to buy LinkedIn for US$26.2B, which is its biggest-ever acquisition. The firm is paying a huge premium — another half what LinkedIn shares are worth — following a 40 per cent haircut on the social network’s shares back in March and a downgrade by Morgan Stanley. So why is Nadella making the move, which will ultimately define his time as CEO?

It’s stumping up the cash for the LinkedIn social graph, and what it can bring to Microsoft’s business. LinkedIn has 430 million members, and it brings professional and relationship information on those people to the software and cloud services vendor. There’s an opportunity to have LinkedIn show you article results based on the project you’re working on in Office, for example, or have Cortana do the same based on searches you make.

All this assumes that the whole thing doesn’t end up being a multi-billion dollar albatross like Nokia was. We’re sure it’ll all be fine, just so long as Clippy doesn’t appear every time you open a new document asking if you’d like him to help you find a new job.

DNC Trump records trumped

A hacker stole the Democratic National Committee’s file on Donald Trump and then forwarded it to bankrupted online dirt digging site Gawker. The file, reaching more than 200 pages, is a detailed document outlining the DNC’s strategy on undermining the controversial presidential candidate and listing his personal, business and political flaws. But who nabbed it?

The hackers who forwarded the documents call themselves Guccifer 2.0 and claim to be independent, but security firm Crowdstrike insists that it’s the work of a hacking group linked to Russian intelligence. As always in cybersecurity, attribution is a tricky problem. Either way, the whole world now knows which flaws we can attribute to Mr Trump.

Social media scanning site sparks privacy outrage

Landlords can be finicky enough when vetting potential tenants — some even ask for your pet’s resume — but one firm also gave them the chance to infringe on tenants’ privacy this week. U.K. startup Score Assured vowed to ask for access to a potential tenant’s social media accounts and then analyze them to build a picture of that person, including things like their financial stress level.

Privacy advocates were outraged, of course, and now the firm says it may have to reassess how it operates. The concept carries some interesting possibilities, though: could dating apps use it to sound the nut-job alert and avoid an awkward first date, or worse?

Dingbat of the week

Don’t get us wrong: technology is great, and we love it. But it does have its problems. One of the biggest is over-enthusiastic business-focused execs who focus on efficiency and don’t appreciate the nuances and intricacies of culturally significant anachronisms like oh, you know, the written word.

Facebook is apparently prepped for text to almost entirely disappear. EMEA chief Nicola Mendelsohn said that video is far better equipped to communicate ideas, and intimated that words were becoming all but obsolete. Don’t worry, though, words won’t disappear altogether, she soothes. “You’ll have to write for the video.”

In other words, forget the book — just watch the movie. Excuse us while we retreat from this crazy world with a copy of that unfilmable book 100 Years of Solitude. Which frankly after Mendelsohn’s comment is what we’re craving right now.

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

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