Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith says LinkedIn acquisition intended to “build the cloud for good”

Mark Coppock

There’s been plenty of conjecture as to Microsoft’s real reasons for acquiring LinkedIn for a cool $26 billion. Certainly, the move makes general sense given Microsoft’s enterprise-oriented “cloud-first, mobile-first” productivity solutions strategy. However, the reasons likely go much deeper, and Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith offered some additional insights at this week’s WPC 2016 conference.

As Windows IT Pro reports:

During the keynote on the final day of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said that one of the reasons it is excited about the LinkedIn acquisition is that it will help people advance their education and connect with their next jobs, a particularly important tool as more and more jobs are replaced with automation.

“There’s so much that technology can do,” Smith said. “We need to do more than advance the cloud; we need to build the cloud for good.”

Smith goes on to expound on the issues of trust, responsibility, and inclusivity in Microsoft’s cloud strategy. Trust involves both privacy and security, things that Microsoft has made a core focus of late. In terms of responsibility, Smith had the following to say about the cloud’s impact on the environment:

“We need to think about the environment,” [he] said. “We’re consuming more electricity than Vermont.”

Finally, Smith spoke to how the workforce of the future will be impacted by technology:

“What jobs will disappear?” [he] said. “Where are the new jobs going to come from? That’s what the world is asking.”

His answers to these question revolve around Microsoft increasing investments in education and in bringing computer science to schools around the world. “We know that when we give young people these opportunities they take advantage of them,” Smith said.

In short, the LinkedIn acquisition is just one part of Microsoft’s efforts to ensure that they’re not just building a cloud infrastructure that meets the immediate needs of its business customers. Rather, Microsoft is working to ensure that it’s strategies taking into consideration all of the various changes that technology is bringing to the world.