Microsoft plans for 2012: to buy LinkedIn & Netflix

Market research firm IDC predicts a large number of transactions and purchases in 2012. This is due to the fact that companies want to increase their presence in cloud computing, social networking and online content. Among other IDC predicted past Thursday that Microsoft would buy Netflix to give it a stronghold in online video entertainment and LinkedIn to get into social networking.

The same prediction for a Microsoft-Netflix deal was made last year, but chief analyst Frank Gens said it makes even more sense now, given Netflix’s diminished market value and expected losses next year from growing content licensing bills.
“In 2012, part of Microsoft’s challenge is to counter what Apple and Amazon have done and what Google is building up – a really strong media and content marketplace,” Gens said. By offering movies, music and other content, Apple, Amazon and Google are aiding their mobile device ecosystems, including tablets and smartphones.
“Without a media and content cloud, the competitiveness of Microsoft’s mobile platforms could be greatly diminished,” Gens predicted.

The research firm also predicts that major information technology providers will make big “statement-type acquisitions” in social technologies. They’ll do these deals to show customers that they understand that social tech will be a big part of IT’s next growth platform.
Microsoft is likely buying LinkedIn and then acquiring a company like Taleo to enhance the social recruiting capabilities of the service.

A LinkedIn acquisition makes a good deal of sense. As Facebook shows, social networking has begun to replace search as the Internet’s dominant technology, and puts its tentacles into every part of people’s lives. People increasingly use it not just to find friends, but to find information, reviews, entertainment and more – everything that search used to do. It would be a way for Microsoft to do an end-around Google search.