LinkedIn is testing a way for employees to share information privately—a service that CEO Jeff Weiner already calls “an extremely valuable way to take the pulse of our company.”That sounds familiar—because that’s almost exactly how Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff talks about his company’s Chatter product, and how Yammer CEO David Sacks talks about his company’s social-enterprise service (which Microsoft, it’s widely reported, is in the midst of acquiring).
Here’s how Weiner described his company’s potential rival to Chatter and Yammer in an interview with Fortune writer Adam Lashinsky:
So, historically LinkedIn has largely been about publicly available professional information and knowledge and your professional identity, but internally here at LinkedIn we have a private company group and only LinkedIn employees—and this is through LinkedIn.com—only LinkedIn employees have access to that group, and so can share privately available information. And I personally find that an extremely valuable way to take the pulse of our company.
Weiner added that this was “an internal beta product”—only LinkedIn employees have access right now—but added that “there’s a lot more we can do in this respect.”
By the way, Weiner mentioned doing something in social-enterprise products last fall—but this is a much more explicit description of a Yammer-like service for sharing internal information.
Let’s assume Microsoft ends up buying Yammer and LinkedIn also gets into the business of powering employee directories, which Weiner also mentioned as a possibility.
Then the two companies, which currently integrate some of their products in interesting ways, could end up competing much more directly.
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