SEATTLE — Microsoft has made its most ambitious move in years to reassert itself in a technology market it once dominated.
The software giant said Monday morning that it would acquire LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion cash deal. The acquisition, by far the largest in Microsoft’s history, unites two companies in different businesses: one a big maker of software tools, the other the largest business-oriented social networking site, with more than 400 million members globally.
The deal is Microsoft’s biggest bet yet that the traditional software business is shifting quickly to cloud computing, a model in which customers rent software and other services delivered over the internet. While LinkedIn does not have the household name of Facebook, a much larger and more lucrative social network, it is the most widely used site for people to advertise their professional skills and work history.