LinkedIn Platform Finally Debuts

A month after Om trashed LinkedIn for failing to launch a promised application platform, and more than a year after the initiative was first announced, the professional network is finally giving out developer keys. Today LinkedIn launches a business-focused apps platform.

The full launch follows a string of LinkedIn deals to integrate with IBM (s IBM), Research In Motion (s RIMM), Microsoft Outlook (s MSFT) and Twitter. Promised early platform developers include TweetDeck, Posterous, and Ribbit. (More details on the company’s blog.)

With far too many platforms begging for developers’ services today, why should they head to LinkedIn? “Obviously LinkedIn is a pretty unique platform, but these are fundamentally standard REST APIs,” said Adam Nash, LinkedIn’s VP of search and platform products. “More than 50 million people have used LinkedIn to build their professional presence online, and they want to use it everywhere.” He promised that the LinkedIn platform would ensure the same privacy protections as the company’s site. 

As for the delay, Nash said, “We wanted to spend time to understand how people wanted to use the platform and use the technology to scale.” Translation: Better late than never!