With more than 1,300 tech-related video tutorials, Lynda.com is among developers’ most-visited destinations for online education. It’s also owned by professional social network LinkedIn, which Microsoft is buying for $26.2 billion, the software giant’s biggest acquisition yet.
While most coverage of the purchase has focused on how Microsoft might take advantage of data on LinkedIn’s 433 million members, the educational component is important, too.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, in a letter to employees, writes that one of the main benefits of the merger will be “Accelerating our objective to transform learning and development by deeply integrating the Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning solution in Office alongside some of the most popular productivity apps on the planet.” Weiner notes that six of Lynda’s 25 most popular trainings are related to Microsoft products.
Since being purchased by LinkedIn last year, Lynda has already started offering customized ‘Learning Paths’ that allow users to, for example, ‘Become a Front-End Web Developer‘ by viewing 44 hours of videos. It’s not hard to imagine how these could be purchased by Microsoft enterprise customers and used to train employees for new roles.
One unnamed LinkedIn executive quoted in Quartz mentions the idea of a ‘Learning’ tab added to Office that would allow subscribers to immediately get tutorials on the software they’re using, right there in the program itself.
Right now, Lynda charges users $29.99 per month for a premium individual plan, with bulk plans available for businesses who want to train multiple employees. Integrating access into Microsoft Office could make learning cheaper for existing Office subscribers.
But Lynda’s not the only company providing web-based tutorials on Microsoft products—or software development. By giving Lynda/Microsoft offerings an advantage over other companies that provide tech training, the acquisition could also reduce competition in the online education marketplace—which could be bad for developers.
On the other hand, Microsoft could choose to emphasize training for its own technologies within Lynda, ignoring or minimizing support for other platforms like iOS.
As Microsoft has not yet outlined detailed plans for Lynda, this will be something for developers to watch going forward.