LINKEDIN - THE SOCIAL NETWORK where you occasionally click ‘accept' - may soon have a stablemate if rumours are to be believed. According to the USA Herald, sources indicate that Microsoft is sniffing around Upwork, and has plans to make it part of the company's family soon.
While LinkedIn is popular among large companies, full-time employees and HR departments looking to tempt said full-time employees elsewhere, Upwork is a very different beast. A hub for freelancers, formed in 2013 with the merging of oDesk and Elance (sadly the didn't go for "Elanceodesk"), the site aims to connect self-employed types with businesses and individuals looking to staff short-term projects. It has more than 12 million registered users.
USA Herald is incredibly vague about the nature of its sources, not even revealing which side of the potential transaction they sit on. The report states that a recent collaboration between the two companies - tools to help businesses provide temporary access to Enterprise Microsoft Office apps for the duration of a contract - was the first step on the road to a full acquisition.
Given Microsoft's tightening grip on the enterprise space, it certainly feels like the kind of move the company would make. Certainly, the $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn seemed unlikely at first but is bearing fruit with the suit-and-tie social network celebrating another 37 per cent increase in revenue.
Upwork has a more obvious direct revenue stream with a consistent flow of transactions between employers and temporary employees and charges the former between ten and 20 per cent of the value of a given project.
On top of this, of course, any opportunity to get workers and businesses all cosy in the company ecosystem is good news for Microsoft. If the company want more freelancers using Microsoft Teams and Outlook, then this would be a great opportunity to appeal to them directly. µ
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