Microsoft's hotmail, which I use as my main mail platform since more than 15 years - out of laziness to change to a different provider and frankly spoken some nostalgia - does not really make it into above pyramid; although one could argue that offering a mail service satisfies the need of belonging. I would therefore add the hotmail icon to the belonging stage. But Microsoft definitely failed until recently to offer any product on the esteem and self-realization stage. The recent acquisition of LinkedIn was therefore a smart albeit expensive move up the ladder of an evolving and ever more demanding consumer crowd. The Economist disagrees with me. PC World's Mark Hackman seems to agree with me albeit on slightly different premises: LinkedIn is the social network with serious data.
Whether google+ and facebook solely serve the belonging need is to be disputed. I would argue that they satisfy more of an esteem need than a belonging need and stretch over both stages. With already quite mature products for the satisfaction of belonging and esteem needs on the market, I assume that it was a difficult process for Microsoft to identify an acquisition target. LinkedIn seems to be the perfect match for Microsoft because similar like google+ and facebook cover two needs, LinkedIn covers the needs of esteem and self-realization. Moreover, since Microsoft's products are rather tailored for the "traditional" corporate world, LinkedIn has most likely more member overlap with existing Microsoft consumers than facebook or google+. Hackman shows this brilliantly with the juxtaposition of Microsoft's office graph and LinkedIn's economic graph, both revealing the user information the two companies have access to.
Microsoft will have to look into short- and midterm alternatives. I therefore assume that Quora or Aeon Ideas will soon be or are already Microsoft's next acquisition target, because Quora and Aeon Ideas truly fulfill man's self realization needs in a social media context. I might proof wrong though if Microsoft is able to develop its digital assistant product Cortana faster than expected as Mark Hackman writes in his PC World article. We would then enter a work environment very similar to what Spike Jonze envisioned in his 2013 movie Her. But then again, would a digital assistant - even if she had Scarlett Johansson's voice - be able to support our search for self-realization. I doubt it. Compassionate and genuine writing and journaling, activities you engage in on Quora and Aeon Ideas and to some extent on LinkedIn, on the other hand do. That's a proven fact; watch e.g. the highly popular TED talk by Shawn Anchor. So my guess is still: Microsoft will acquire Quora.