A 3D printed logo of Microsoft is seen in front of a displayed LinkedIn logo in this illustration taken June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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You have a company that has an enviable, if slowly declining, franchise and a woeful record of executing large-scale acquisitions.Well, you are clearly not Satya Nadella, for this latter path is the one that Microsoft's chief executive has just chosen. LinkedIn may have a huge network, with 430m registered users. But it is not clear how the business fits together with Microsoft; still less how Mr Nadella can use it to drive the group's future growth.In principle, of course, these incentives do not stop Mr Nadella from maximising cash flows from the commercial software business.That means diverting some of those cash flows into high profile acquisitions such as LinkedIn, or investments in exciting but very uncertain ventures such as Microsoft's "augmented reality" project, HoloLens.In Microsoft's case, these seem designed to encourage Mr Nadella to behave as if he's running an Apple or a Facebook – tech companies that are at the forefront of consumer innovation.
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