Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is getting a set of new apps aimed at low-connectivity markets, starting in India.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the products on Wednesday at his company’s Future Decoded event in Mumbai. He described them as a way of democratizing the jobs, business, and graduate placements markets in the country. All three apps are built upon existing features that were introduced by the LinkedIn India team in November.
The primary offering in the new lineup is LinkedIn Lite — essentially the flagship app designed to be able to perform on all connectivity levels (including 2G). Nadella touted the app as four times faster than the original LinkedIn client.
Facebook offers a similar product in the form of its Facebook Lite app, which has witnessed tremendous growth since its launch in June 2015. The stripped-down version of the social network is now available in 100 countries (including recent additions such as Italy, South Korea, and Israel) and attracts 200 million users every month. Facebook’s introduction of its own job openings tool last week could also be the impetus behind Microsoft’s new apps.
Next up in Nadella’s presentation was “Starter Pack,” an app that bundles LinkedIn’s premium business solutions for small and medium-sized businesses in the country. It allows companies to access the platform’s hiring, talent management, marketing, and B2B sales tools. Nadella described it as a “critical, yet simple, powerful business system that you can deploy.”
Finally came “Placements,” an app aimed at recent college graduates that puts them in touch with the country’s top companies offering — for lack of a better term — placements. Again, Nadella hailed it as a way to level the playing field for students in the country by tapping into grads from any college, not just the high-ranked institutes. The platform already offers an app aimed at students in the United States.
Speaking of the new products, Nadella said they will be available to “every professional, on any phone, with any connectivity.” What this means is that Microsoft is hoping to widen LinkedIn’s net by bringing it to users in remote regions who may not have access to high-end phones and are stuck with low-bandwidth internet speeds. The move aims to capitalize on the career-oriented platform’s growth in the region, where it has thus far managed to accumulate 39 million members.
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in December for approximately $26.2 billion. Nadella also announced a new LinkedIn-based training initiative for India’s low- and semi-skilled workers. Dubbed “Project Sangam,” the venture utilizes Microsoft’s cloud service to expand the reach of LinkedIn’s learning tools.
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