LinkedIn Learning: Strategy Tradeoffs at a Multi-Sided Platform Firm

What strategic direction for LinkedIn Learning will best support the foundations of LinkedIn’s business proposition?

Dan J. Wang  | Spring 2021
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Founded in 2002 as a multisided platform connecting members, recruiters, and advertisers, by 2020 LinkedIn was the world’s largest professional network, with revenues expected to exceed $8 billion by year end. With an initial goal to be the social network for professionals interested in new jobs and useful connections, the company expanded its mission in 2015 with the acquisition of the learning platform Lynda.com—thereby entering the competitive arena of content providers. The following year, LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion, with Microsoft pledging to give LinkedIn autonomy as a fully independent entity. By 2020, the partnership was considered a success by both entities as LinkedIn’s performance exceeded Microsoft’s projections and LinkedIn’s management acknowledging that, with Microsoft’s support, the company had been able to focus on a longer term horizon. In this case students will be asked to consider the challenges that faced LinkedIn in 2020, including a new leadership team, a global economic crisis in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, and the integration of Glint, a 2018 acquisition that further expanded LinkedIn’s offerings to include management tools to improve employee effectiveness.

Case ID: 210411

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