Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky wants LinkedIn’s professional social networking features baked into Microsoft Outlook.He wants it so badly that he pitched LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on the idea of Microsoft buying the company in the middle of an interview.
Here’s the exchange:
ADAM LASHINSKY: So, speaking of acquisitions, you know, my pet project is to have Microsoft buy LinkedIn because it makes no sense to me that Outlook and LinkedIn aren’t the same thing. Are you prepared to do that deal when they make that offer?
JEFF WEINER: I was not aware that was your pet project. This is good to know, OK. (Laughter.)
So, we already have some lightweight integrations there with Outlook, so that Outlook is leveraging LinkedIn APIs, so when you’re receiving an e-mail you can see whether or not you’re connected to that person, you can also see their most recent status updates. And we think there’s some exciting opportunities and potential there to go deeper, so keep an eye on that space. …
ADAM LASHINSKY: But you’re not going to comment on the rumour I’m trying to start that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn?
JEFF WEINER: I’m not going to comment on a rumour that Microsoft is trying to buy LinkedIn.
ADAM LASHINSKY: Fair enough.
JEFF WEINER: Your pet project.
Now, let’s say this: Lashinsky is not crazy here. And elsewhere in the interview, Weiner mentions that inside some companies, people already use LinkedIn to look up colleagues and figure out their expertise, rather than use the (generally terrible) internal directories offered by their employers.
Weiner also said LinkedIn is considering getting into the business of running those directories for corporate customers. It hasn’t yet, but such a move would put LinkedIn in more or less direct competition with a key part of Microsoft’s Exchange offering.
That might certainly prompt some phone calls from Redmond to Mountain View.