Why a Microsoft buy of Yammer would be good for social business

Why a Microsoft buy of Yammer would be good for social business

Summary: Rumors that Microsoft is about to buy Yammer are buzzing in Silicon Valley at the moment after an overheard conversation in The Creamery in San Francisco last night.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Microsoft
13

Rumours are buzzing in Silicon Valley at the moment after an overheard conversation in The Creamery in San Francisco last night.

The bistro and coffee shop is just a short walk from Yammer's office on Townsend Street.  Sarah Taylor tweeted that she had overheard a conversation that Microsoft had acquired Yammer. Bloomberg picked up the story, speculating that Microsoft might pay more than $1 billion for the acquisition.

It would make really great sense for Microsoft to buy Yammer.

Yammer is an enterprise social network provider which allows employees to collaborate across departments, geographies, content and applications. It encourages adoption by offering its basic product for free, gambling on the fact that companies will return to buy the premium version of the product.

The acquisition would probably sit within the Unified Communications team. Yammer would nicely complement existing functions and features of Microsoft Lync whilst bringing together Lync and SharePoint.

Yammer first integrated its platform with SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 a couple of years ago. This integration exposes the Yammer feed from within SharePoint pages through a Yammer SharePoint Web Part.  Documents and files can also be posted to Yammer from SharePoint document lists.

Microsoft may have been searching for a suitable acquisition like Yammer for some time. It had been developing Townsquare, an enterprise news feed which exposed information from several back end sources inside the firewall.

The Townsquare web-based UI showed information about people in workgroups and virtual teams. It showed employee length of service, birthdays, SharePoint documents and status updates in a centralised Facebook-like portal.

Another good fit for Yammer would be if the acquisition rested in the Microsoft Dynamics team. Last year the Dynamics CRM product was updated to bring a more unified experience to the ‘Enterprise cloud’.

Activity feeds, micro blog status updates, conversations and automated activity updates posted directly to the activity feed kept users informed of progress in sales opportunities.

Earlier this year, Yammer integrated its services with Microsoft Dynamics, offering Universal Search across enterprise applications and devices. It also secured $85 million in funding in February 2012 and believes that there is a significant growth opportunity for its business.

In February Yammer also announced an integration with SAP and five other partnerships.  This means that Yammer users will be able to see and collaborate around SAP content, and other activity from partners.

Yammer is used by 85% of the Fortune 500 and a significant amount of the Global 2000 where SAP is widely deployed. This integration makes sense if Yammer is to continue to gain market share.

Overlap is also important amongst large enterprises in Yammer's customer base.Other Yammer partnerships include GageIn, a business content aggregation platform and Moreover Technologies, used for media monitoring.  Activity in the workplace is becoming much more social.

Adding a social layer to business processes means data can talk to you, even the software is complex on-premise software such as SAP. But SAP is not the only partner to work with Yammer.

It is a continuation of the partner strategy Yammer launched back in November with the introduction of its Ticker service. This feature shows what co-workers are working on, showing real time stories from Box.net and other integration partners such as, NetSuite, Zendesk, Expensify and Tripit.

So if, and it is a big if, the rumour happens to be true, then Microsoft will have scooped a fast growing, energised social business operator.

Microsoft subsuming Yammer could really benefit enterprise social business. If Yammer can still remain viable as a collaborative enablement tool -- and does not become another logo on the 'acquisitions wall'.

Related content:

Topic: Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

13 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Microsoft always walks a line with their ISVs when they do this

    Good for Microsoft. Good for Yammer. Good for customers. Bad for ISVs like newsgator who went from partner to competitor overnight. Microsoft always has to consider the entire ecosystem before they make any major acquisition like this. Unlike Google, who can pick up GrandCentral and rename it Google Voice without upsetting anyone, Microsoft has a huge footprint and is vital to the ecosystem.
    Your Non Advocate
  • Another move to catch up with Google?

    This (potential) acquisition has been on the cards for some time. The launch of Google+ and the integration with Google Apps is something that the Productivity teams at Microsoft have been paranoid about for a while. SharePoint isnt Social, neither is email. Microsoft Yammer integrated with Office, Lync and Outlook could be a great Social solution if Microsoft do it right.
    garethjreynolds
    • Completely different market segment

      Google+ is trying to catch up to Myspace.

      Yammer/Sharepoint are geared towards enterprise social collaboration.
      Your Non Advocate
      • Sharepoint is Junk

        Always has been, probably always will be.

        Extremely expensive (you spend $7 on extras for every $1 spent on SP), extremely bloated, inflexible, and just a poor platform.

        Smart companies steer well clear of the Sharepoint mess train.
        itguy10
      • OK sparkie

        grab yourself a scoobie biscuit and sit down. The adults are talking.
        Your Non Advocate
    • How so?

      Google+ has not and still not gaing traction outside of the "Geek" space. Google Docs is luke warm (at BEST) acceptance and still cannot even come close to Office or even LibreOffice. The laptops are joke. Now I work in a 4000 employee enterprise which has Google docs along side Office. Google Docs is not and has not been accepted by the users except (and this is it's one strong point) very simple documents that need to be shared. Integration into a horrible Social setup (+) and you have ... what to be afraid of?
      TheBottomLineIsAllThatMatters
    • I respectfully disagree

      Yammer has nothing to do with Google Plus. Google's primary strategy for Google Plus is as a consumer social network. It threw it in with Google Apps because it didn't hurt. There is no meaningful integration with the rest of Google Apps or customization for business use. Yammer is a totally different thing - a business focused social network. Different market, different dynamics.

      Pankaj
      http://www.hyperoffice.com
      pankajunk
  • I like SP..

    Been using Sharepoint for ages.. works great
    DJK2
  • :)

    my neighbor's mother made $16059 last week. she is working on the computer and got a $509600 home. All she did was get blessed and follow the information shown on this site http://ow.ly/btPCI
    whitley24
  • I laugh every time I see the words "social business"

    There is no such thing. Nothing but hype words.
    wackoae
    • I laugh every time I see someone profess something emphatically

      based on their limited experience.
      Your Non Advocate
  • Lync beats AVAYA, Cisco and ShoreTel

    We are one of the largest cloud Lync providers operating in the USA and we are excited to the fact that Yammer could be integrated with the Microsoft product set. Social media is a much needed tool within the ecosystem of any company whereas it takes collaboration to it next level. Nothing in the market today comes close to the ease of use and productivity that Lync brings to the table either in a dedicated server environment or in the cloud like Workspace Communications provides. Great job Microsoft, I???m sure the folks over at AVAYA, Cisco and ShoreTel are wondering what to do next.
    Lync in the Cloud
  • Sharepoint Yammer Integration

    If Microsoft decides to make Yammer a sub part of Sharepoint, it will need to do a better job of integration that the few touch points it has right now. Or it might simply be thinking of it as a stand alone product in its portfolio. In either case, social business is the winner.

    Pankaj
    http://www.hyperoffice.com
    pankajunk