Facebook's London office is reportedly developing a new Facebook At Work project that will vie directly with LinkedIn. With a user base of 1.3 billion Facebook can leverage their existing membership to challenge LinkedIn for work-based social networking market share. LinkedIn has experienced rapid growth and now has over 200 million users, but lacks many refined features that Facebook can easily provide. Facebook At Work will enable collaborative workflows through document sharing, and also add messaging and chat services via their Messenger service.
Facebook intends to separate work and personal profiles, and there is no word yet if Facebook will charge a premium for the service. LinkedIn derives much of its profit from enhanced membership options, but Facebook can likely offer better services by simply embedding advertisements into the feed. Facebook will also draw fire from competing Google and Microsoft services, such as Google Drive and Office 365. Many corporations are familiar with using cloud-based services for employee collaboration, and if Facebook offers a compelling solution they can potentially grab a huge chunk of market share in this space. There is no announced release date of the new service, but estimates expect release in 2015.