Bill Gates: LinkedIn to be like Facebook for careers

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (Jim Watson, AFP)
Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (Jim Watson, AFP)

San Francisco - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he’s enthusiastic about the company’s $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn, viewing it as an opportunity to build a business network for the working world like Facebook has created for social communities.

Users should be compelled to say: “This professional feed in LinkedIn, that is how I want to learn about my career, my company, my industry, and I’m going back there,” Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg TV’s Erik Schatzker.

“If we can make that as valuable as the Facebook feed in the social world, that’s huge value creation and that’ll happen over a period of years.”

The purchase is a way for Microsoft, which largely missed out on the consumer web boom dominated by the likes of Google and Facebook, to acquire social tools. Yet the price of the transaction, announced June 13 as one of the largest technology industry deals on record, weighed on Microsoft’s shares earlier this week.

Gates, who remains a board member of Microsoft, seemed unconcerned by the 2% decline in the stock since the deal was announced.

“I certainly think that the value of the two companies combined is greater than the two by themselves, but I love the idea that the market wants us to show that,” he said.

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