Yet another sign of market angst about social networks and cloud companies: Linkedin posts a 46% rise in first-quarter revenue, to $473.2 million, but the loss of $13.3 million is what the markets seem to be fixated on. The stock has fallen over 5% at this point, added to the roughly 30% that it lost during the first quarter.
Linkedin associated the loss to costs associated with its China expansion, and the acquisition of Bright, a job matching service. Without those one-time expenses the company says it would have earned 38 cents per share, which would still have represented a drop from 45 cents per share from a year earlier.
With over 300 million users, Linkedin s clearly operating at scale, but like the poor reception of Amazon’s quarterly results recently, the market’s mood is skewing away from the ‘wait and watch our growth’ story of internet firms, even billion dollar monsters.
My question is about mobile: can Linkedin successfully transition to a mobile first world? The company has stated that it will pass its ‘mobile moment‘ sometime in 2014, but I don’t think that is the real question. My bet is that Linkedin will have to join the path that Facebook and now Foursquare are on, namely, building a set of smaller and more focused mobile apps intended to do specific things. For example, a Linkedin messaging app, one for reading Linkedin content, and so on. They have been making a serious investment in mobile, so I don’t doubt that they will get there in time.