Cloud // Software as a Service
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6/14/2012
10:09 AM
David F Carr
David F Carr
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Microsoft Rumored To Acquire Yammer

If the stories are true, Microsoft could pay more than $1 billion, recognizing the value of Yammer's cloud social network compared to more SharePoint-centric products like NewsGator Social Sites.

Enterprise Social Networks: A Guided Tour
Enterprise Social Networks: A Guided Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft is on the verge of acquiring Yammer, the cloud-based enterprise social network, according to reports.

Microsoft may pay more than $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. A ZDNet story cited a tweet from blogger Sarah Taylor as the original source of the rumor. Taylor tweeted about an overheard conversation at San Francisco coffee shop The Creamery, where someone called it a done deal.

Bloomberg said it had confirmation that the private talks were serious and a deal could be announced as soon as Friday.

Back in March, Jared Spataro, Microsoft's senior director of SharePoint product marketing, told The BrainYard Microsoft was ready to invest in enterprise social software, recognizing that the time was right and that social collaboration for business was more than a fad. Spataro will be one of the keynote speakers at next week's Enterprise 2.0 Boston conference, organized by The Brainyard's parent company, UBM.

[ Learn more about Microsoft's social inroads. See Vidyo Deepens Microsoft Lync Integration. ]

Forrester Research recently ranked Yammer as one of the three top enterprise Activity Streams--social software products anchored around the stream or feed of posts--along with Salesforce.com's Chatter and Tibco's Tibbr. Yammer is offered on a freemium business model where individuals can sign up to start collaborating with others in the same business domain. Organizations that find the collaboration useful can convert to paid account with administrative features and other upgrades.

Yammer streams and group feeds can be embedded in SharePoint, but in April Yammer expanded its search-level integration with SharePoint and its cloud equivalent in Microsoft Office 365.

Until now, I've more often heard speculation that Microsoft would eventually buy NewsGator, the creator of a Social Sites product that's implemented as a SharePoint application.

SharePoint itself has added social features such as richer profiles, but is still often classified as an inadequate social platform in the absence of extensive customization or third-party add ons.

If this acquisition comes to pass, it may mean that Microsoft sees the value in a lightweight approach to integration between a social collaboration environment and enterprise systems, including the more document-centric SharePoint. With deeper integration, Yammer could take advantage of the SharePoint platform without being bound by its architecture.

Yammer would also give Microsoft a more direct counterweight to Salesforce.com's Chatter, which is offered on a similar cloud freemium model.

Meanwhile, if some enterprises favor the tighter SharePoint integration of NewsGator and an inside-the-firewall deployment, that's still good for Microsoft because every NewsGator Social Sites customer is also a SharePoint customer.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

The Enterprise 2.0 Conference brings together industry thought leaders to explore the latest innovations in enterprise social software, analytics, and big data tools and technologies. Learn how your business can harness these tools to improve internal business processes and create operational efficiencies. It happens in Boston, June 18-21. Register today!

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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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6/18/2012 | 1:03:36 PM
re: Microsoft Rumored To Acquire Yammer
Tony Byrne from The Real Story Group has some analysis of this move, which he finds somewhat puzzling in terms of how it fits with SharePoint and Office 365 strategy http://t.co/giOKXG1Q
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/14/2012 | 6:34:36 PM
re: Microsoft Rumored To Acquire Yammer
Interesting post, but I'd say this is a far cry from the Internet Explorer bundling. In fact, unless Microsoft were to completely gut the philosophy and engineering that have gone into Yammer so far (which would be a mistake), I'd expect to see the product continue as a social stream that connects with lots of different products and product stacks. Integration with Microsoft products would certainly improve, just because of access to talent and internal engineering details, but Yammer would also have to integrate with lots of other systems (and deliver stand-alone value independent of platforms like SharePoint) to be truly valuable.

A good model might be Microsoft's acquisition of Skype, which as the NYTimes recently reported has been given "a longer leash" than most of the firms MS has acquired over the years, allowing it to maintain much of the corporate culture and mission it had pre-acquisition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05...
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