LinkedIn Corp. Follows in Facebook's Footsteps

Multi-purpose mobile apps are so 2013. Up until recently, companies and developers were perfectly happy adding features upon features to flagship apps. However, the downside is that multi-purpose apps become bloated and it takes extra time just to find what you're looking for.

That's largely why Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) has begun to unbundle its app, and why LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) just followed in its footsteps.

Big blue
In an interview with The New York Times earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg explained what Facebook's Creative Labs division has been up to:

So Facebook is not one thing. On desktop where we grew up, the mode that made the most sense was to have a website, and to have different ways of sharing built as features within a website. So when we ported to mobile, that's where we started -- this one big blue app that approximated the desktop presence.

But I think on mobile, people want different things. Ease of access is so important. So is having the ability to control which things you get notifications for. And the real estate is so small. In mobile there's a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences.

So what we're doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app.

Mary Meeker also noted the trend in her annual Internet Trends report: 

KPCB Internet trends 2014 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

At this point, Facebook has its core "big blue app," Messenger, Paper, and freshly released Slingshot. Don't expect Facebook to stop there. LinkedIn has just launched a new standalone LinkedIn Job Search app. The app does exactly what it promises to: It allows users to search for jobs. LinkedIn is emphasizing privacy and won't share any of your activity to your network.

The professional networker certainly could have added this functionality to its core app, but standalone apps are where the mobile market is heading. It's the latest instance of the broader app unbundling that mobile users are seeing. LinkedIn estimates that 40% of its users are accessing the service through mobile devices.

While the app will not share your activity to your LinkedIn network, you can still bet that the company is gathering data for its own purposes. LinkedIn's business relies on data collection to strengthen its job-matching powers and candidate-seeking abilities. That's the entire value proposition for its core Talent Solutions segment. Releasing an app that caters to current mobile trends while collecting even more data is a win.

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Evan Niu

Evan is a Senior Technology Specialist at The Motley Fool. He was previously a Senior Trading Specialist at a major discount broker. Evan graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a CFA charterholder.

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