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Despite 'Intro' flop, LinkedIn planning more mobile apps

As members continue to spend more time on mobile, company CEO remains gung ho on growing the app suite.


Apps, apps, and more apps.

Even in light of obvious hiccups like "Intro," LinkedIn's mobile focus will continue to include a collection of singular applications (separate from the main one), and new ones are on the way, CEO Jeff Weiner said Thursday. The mobile push appears to emulate the much discussed multi-app approach of consumer social giant Facebook, which now operates Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Paper, and Moves.

"We also have some additional applications that have yet to launch, all part of our effort to mobilize," Weiner said on a conference call with analysts and investors. "We think that's going to be increasingly important given we're at roughly 42 percent of traffic coming from mobile channels today."

The professional network Thursday reported first-quarter revenue of $473.2 million. LinkedIn does not break out revenue from its mobile products, but the company is getting more chatty about the money it makes from sponsored updates, the relatively new native Web and mobile unit that is essential to its future profits from mobile apps.

Sponsored updates, modeled after Facebook's News Feed ads, are marked as paid placements but meant to look like the rest of the content flowing through the network. LinkedIn said sponsored updates now account for 19 percent of revenue from its advertising business, which would equate to around $20 million for Q1.

LinkedIn's mobile app lineup includes Pulse, Contacts, LinkedIn for phones, and LinkedIn for iPad. But there's more to come. Screenshot/Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Weiner's app remarks were made in direct response to a question from an analyst on whether the company was dialing back on its multi-app strategy. Late last year, the professional network talked up its new app strategy at a press event, simultaneously revamping its iPad app and its separate news app Pulse. At the time, LinkedIn also released a brand-new email app called "Intro," though it quickly pulled the plug on that. Intro was shuttered on March 7.

Deep Nisher, senior vice president of products, previously attributed Intro's shutdown to a desire to focus company attention on fewer things, but the real reason probably had more to do with the app's slow adoption and people's security concerns. "This increased focus will allow us to commit more resources toward fewer products and continue to deliver even better experiences for our members," he said.

Nishar's comments would certainly make one question whether the company was dumping its app portfolio and going back to consolidation. But when asked if that was the case, Weiner asserted otherwise.

"We're going to continue down the same path," he said. "Those [mobile app] teams have been hard at work building the next generation of each of those offerings and we're excited about what's in the pipeline."

LinkedIn's current mobile lineup includes LinkedIn for smartphones, LinkedIn for iPad, Pulse, Contacts, and Slideshare for Android. The company also has a Recruiter Mobile app for its customers who pay to promote job listings.

A company spokesperson declined to share specifics related to the pending apps. "We don't pre-announce products," the spokesperson said.

Update, 4:41 p.m. PT: With LinkedIn's decline to provide additional information.