LinkedIn to chow down on Microsoft's cloudy dogfood

Facebook-for-suits dons an Azure waistcoat

Microsoft has rewarded LinkedIn - the social-media-for-suits and corporate one-upmanship platform - for its contribution to the Redmondian bottom line by booting the outfit into the public cloud.

LinkedIn revenue was up 25 per cent in last week's earnings bonanza – a reflection of the growth of the network, which currently stands at 645 million members. Despite being snapped up by Microsoft back in 2016, the company has stuck with its own infrastructure and tech rather than trotting into Azure's data centres.

Despite protestations that LinkedIn has "built a data infrastructure that operates at a scale very few companies have achieved", the time appears to have come and the gang is planning to deploy the cattle-prods and herd all those works of fiction CVs onto the public cloud.

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn will take a poking from the short, sharp Azure stick over the next couple of years. AWS and GCP will not be getting a look in as senior veep of engineering, Mohak Shroff, said he was "confident that Azure is the right platform to build on for years to come."

It would have made for a frosty chat with Redmond bigwigs if he'd said something like "actually, Amazon's cloud seems to be a good deal less wobbly than Azure, you know?"

The LinkedIn gang has already been using Azure for the likes of video post-delivery, machine translation and keeping "inappropriate" content off the site. Sadly, Azure's cognitive smarts has yet to be deployed to catch some of the whiffier boastings that tend to flow from the odd profile or two.

The company states it has "never shied away from challenges" which is handy, because that stellar growth could be jeopardised if the transition is not made seamless as far as users are concerned.

LinkedIn would do well to look at the experience of Skype, which was acquired during Microsoft's Ballmer era. It would be an understatement to say that the transition to newer infrastructure has been a bit bumpy for users of the messaging platform.

The wailing in Microsoft's user forums over the Skype transition from the "Classic" version 7 to the somewhat feature-lite world of version 8 has continued even after the axe finally fell last year.

While LinkedIn reckons its move will allow it to "to focus on areas where we can deliver unique value" it must also remember what it was about the platform that drove all that lovely revenue in the first place. ®

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