“The two products always had kind of similar missions,” Adler said. “The difference was, [SlideShare] focused on more on PowerPoint presentations and business users, while we focused more on PDFs and Word docs and long-form written content, more on the general consumer.”
Scribd, meanwhile, launched a Netflix-style subscription service for e-books and audiobooks, but Adler said that both the “user-generated side” and the “premium side” remain important to the business.
“We get people who come in looking for documents, then sign up for our premium content,” he said. “But they do continue to read documents, too.”
So when Microsoft and LinkedIn approached Scribd about acquiring SlideShare, Adler saw an opportunity to expand the document side of the product dramatically, incorporating SlideShare’s content library of 40 million presentations and its audience of 100 million unique monthly visitors.
The deal, Adler said, is fundamentally about tapping into SlideShare’s “content and audience,” though he said there may be aspects of the service’s technology that Scribd could incorporate as well. Scribd isn’t taking on any new employees as part of the deal; instead, its existing team is taking responsibility for SlideShare’s operation.
He added that SlideShare will continue to operate as a standalone service, separate from Scribd, and that he’s hopeful it will continue to be well-integrated with LinkedIn.
“Nothing will change in the initial months,” Adler said. “We have a lot of experience with a product like this, both the technology stack and with users uploading content. We’re in a good position make SlideShare really successful.”
Meanwhile, a statement from LinkedIn Vice President of Engineering Chris Pruett highlighted the work that the company has done on SlideShare since the acquisition:
LinkedIn acquired SlideShare in May 2012 at a time when it was becoming clear that professionals were using LinkedIn for more than making professional connections. Over the last eight years, the SlideShare team, product, and community has helped shape the content experience on LinkedIn. We’ve incorporated the ability to upload, share, and discuss documents on LinkedIn.