Microsoft and LinkedIn have announced a partnership at this week's Professional Developers Conference which they claim will make business professionals more productive and successful.
Microsoft Outlook Social Connector links Outlook to the LinkedIn professional network, making it easier for workers to keep their profile and other information up to date, the pair said.
"The LinkedIn functionality will be available in early 2010," said Elliot Shmukler, director of product management at LinkedIn, in a blog post.
"Our big belief is that you can be much more effective if you have your professional network close at hand, and you can leverage your online identity in the work you do on a daily basis.
"The Outlook Social Connector will bring your LinkedIn professional network to where you work, right within your email inbox."
The companies said that the integration between the two systems will save time because users will not have to flit between the two. Other features include the ability to show updates from individuals sending an email, a photo of the person with whom the user is communicating, and calendaring information.
"Just start typing the name of a LinkedIn connection in the 'To:' field of an Outlook message and the connection's email address from LinkedIn will automatically appear as if they are an existing Outlook contact," explained Shmukler.
New Outlook contacts, or those not currently on LinkedIn, can be sent an invitation to join and become part of the user's network, he added.
Microsoft plans to integrate LinkedIn into the next public beta of Outlook 20 10, and Shmukler expected to see new additions appear along the way.
"We hope that these functions start bringing some of the key elements of your LinkedIn professional network to where you work - your Outlook inbox - sometime early next year. But these are certainly the first steps," he said.
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