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Microsoft Tapped This Exec To Help its $26 Billion LinkedIn Bet Pay Off

Microsoft CTO Kevin ScottMicrosoft CTO Kevin Scott
Microsoft CTO Kevin ScottMicrosoft

Microsoft on Tuesday named Kevin Scott, a senior executive from recently acquired LinkedIn, as chief technology officer.

Scott, previously senior vice president of infrastructure at LinkedIn, will now report to Microsoft (MSFT) chief executive Satya Nadella,

That reporting structure distinguishes him from several other chief technology officers (CTOs) in various Microsoft business units who report to the heads of those organizations. According to LinkedIn itself, Microsoft has several dozen chief technology officers across its various business groups and subsidiaries worldwide.

In an email to staff, Nadella said Scott’s first job will be to make sure LinkedIn and Microsoft’s existing Office 365 and Dynamics 365 teams collaborate to make sure both LinkedIn and Microsoft customers benefit from the combination. Office 365 is used by millions of people for email, spreadsheets and word processing while Dynamics 365 is the company’s lesser known accounting, finance, and manufacturing software including software used by sales teams to find, track, and close deals.

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Scott will remain in Mountain View, Calif., where LinkedIn is based, “to ensure Microsoft is a top destination for technical talent,” Nadella added.

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Microsoft’s competitors are concerned about tighter ties between LinkedIn, which has professional data including resumes and job titles, on more than 460 million people, with Dynamics business software. If you run Dynamics software to sell products to a given company, a Dynamics-LinkedIn integration could give you fast easy access to potential buyers at that company based on their job titles or descriptions.

That’s one reason, chief executive Marc Benioff, who lost out on buying LinkedIn, later complained that the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal would be anti-competitive. His fear is that Salesforce users would be at a comparative disadvantage. As a condition of the deal passing regulatory muster in Europe, Microsoft had to agree not to restrict access to LinkedIn data to competitors.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion in December in large part to beef up its Dynamics portfolio.

While the announcement said Microsoft created this corporate-wide position for Smith, Ray Ozzie held that title for a short time after he joined Microsoft 11 years ago. Ozzie soon became chief software architect, replacing Bill Gates in that role. Nathan Myrhvold, an early Microsoft employee who is now at Intellectual Ventures, was also chief technology officer for a while. It’s unclear why there hasn’t been a corporate CTO in the intervening years.