How Microsoft and LinkedIn Can Make This Expensive Deal Work

The companies can learn a lot from Microsoft's dismal acquisition history.

Satya Nadella

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

As Microsoft officially swallows LinkedIn, it should have one goal: Make this acquisition different. The company has a track record of big buys gone south, and writedowns have topped $13 billion since 2012. The purchase of Nokia's handset unit seemed doomed from the start, but buying aQuantive, which made software for selling display ads on the web, seemed like a good idea-- yet it ended up being a costly mistake. Here's what Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella should do to keep the recently-completed LinkedIn deal from joining the ash-heap of M&A history.

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