Microsoft bought LinkedIn because the robots are coming for your jobs

Satya Nadella, Chile Youthspark winner Belen Guede
Satya Nadella and Chile Youthspark winner Belen Guede Microsoft

Microsoft’s massive $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn is still a question mark to many: What would Microsoft want with a professional social network?

On stage at this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Nadella started to connect the dots.

“LinkedIn is not just about having your profile and finding a job,” Nadella says, but rather “being able to find your economic opportunity.”

The short version is that Microsoft’s recently rediscovered mission is all about productivity at work…but thanks to a proliferation of new devices and the rise of artificial intelligence, the concept of “work” is about to change.

In other words, Nadella says, LinkedIn isn’t just a social network — it’s a way to track opportunities and find and develop the skills you need to stay competitive, economically speaking, in an age when change is the only constant.

With technology constantly redefining every industry, robots increasingly able to do the work of humans, it’s increasingly vital to stay on top of current trends.

In fact, Nadella even goes so far as to say that tech companies like Microsoft have a “responsibility” to spread that kind of economic opportunity, whatever they do and wherever they go. He says that when Microsoft invests in regions like Nadella’s birth country, India, the measure of success is in how much opportunity they create.

Jeff Weiner, Satya Nadella, Reid Hoffman
Jeff Weiner (left), Satya Nadella (middle), Reid Hoffman (right) Microsoft

“I don’t think you can participate in all of these countries and not create economic opportunity,” Nadella says. And in so doing, Nadella says, Microsoft can help remediate inequality and bring “a dividend of technology that will be more evenly spread.”

That’s important for Microsoft’s mission, too. With so much of the developing world only now starting to come online, Nadella says it’s in Microsoft’s best interests to get as many people up to speed with technical skills ASAP. After all, Microsoft makes the tools to make them more productive.

“I don’t think we have a long-term business if we do not address the inequities,” Nadella says.

NOW WATCH: This £600 robot steams and folds clothes twice as fast as humans