The sad truth behind the Microsoft LinkedIn acquisition

by | Jun 16, 2016 | General Tech

Microsoft LinkedIn. . .What’s next?

I am extremely curious to see how the Microsoft LinkedIn transaction will play out. Will the user experience be improved? How will customer service be affected?

First, let’s address the notion that perhaps Microsoft will help address LinkedIn user experience issues. My guess is that it will not. I’m a Microsoft partner, who is very familiar with their CRM program. I’ve been actively using Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 3 back in 2006–and every version since, up to and including CRM 2016.

During this time, I have tried and tested out many others, including: Salesforce, SugarCRM, Zoho, Netsuite, Vtiger, Act, ActiveCampaign and Hubspot (probably forgetting a few), but I keep coming back to Microsoft. Not because it’s better, but because as a Microsoft partner, I get it for free. If I had to pay for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, let’s just say that I would absolutely not be paying for Microsoft CRM. The user experience is extremely cumbersome. To complete basic tasks like sending an email marketing campaign, I still need to pull out my self-made instructions. It’s a nightmare to use. 

Will Microsoft be a threat to Salesforce?

Some people are saying the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft will be a major threat to Salesforce. I highly doubt it. Microsoft needs a complete revamp of their operating system. They literally need to start from scratch because as it stands, the CRM is so difficult to use that a small business would need to hire a development firm for simple and basic functions. So, until that happens, Salesforce has no threats from Microsoft.

How will Microsoft help LinkedIn?

Ok, so it doesn’t appear as though the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn will help the user experience. That’s too bad because LinkedIn could certainly use some help in that area. However, perhaps Microsoft can lend a helping hand with customer service, another short-coming I’ve experienced on LinkedIn. Nope. Unlikely, based on my last experience with their support team.

A couple months back we upgraded from the online version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 to 2016. The Outlook CRM add-in stopped working. I opened a ticket with Microsoft. They were quick to respond (an hour or two). They told me we had to uninstall the 2015 add-in and install the 2016. Then, they gave me instructions on how to do this so the old add-in was removed properly. I followed the instructions to remove.

The new add-in would not install, it kept failing. I copied the error and log info and added that to the ticket. I spent the next couple of weeks going back and forth with the tech, who did a screenshare, tried to uninstall, install, uninstall, install, but to no avail. We went through steps to completely remove all traces of any CRM add-in from the computer, made modifications to the registry. The tech tried the same steps over and over and over. But still no luck installing the new Outlook CRM add-in. This went on for 2-3 weeks. He would bring in new techs to look at this, but no luck. I upgraded from Outlook 2013 to Outlook 2016. Still no luck. We spent another week working on this.

Finally the tech just stopped responding to the ticket. At that point, I lost all interest in adding the CRM add-in. It’s months later and I still don’t have the Microsoft CRM working on my PC. I can’t imagine that Microsoft is incapable of developing a CRM add-in that works properly with Outlook, their own email system.

So, how will the acquisition help LinkedIn? My guess is that it won’t. If Microsoft can’t get their own systems to work properly, they can’t fix the poor UX & support services of LinkedIn.

Am I being too harsh? What do you think will come of Microsoft LinkedIn transaction?

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Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.

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