Three more reasons Microsoft might buy Yammer

Three more reasons Microsoft might buy Yammer

Summary: Rumors are flying that Microsoft might buy enterprise social networking vendor Yammer, maybe as soon as this week. Here's why this wouldn't surprise me.

TOPICS: Microsoft

Microsoft watchers have been jumping all over rumors that Microsoft might buy Yammer. Bloomberg is reporting that the deal could be announced before this week is over.

(The best explainer I've seen with all the background on the potential Microsoft-Yammer marriage is from my ZDNet colleague Eileen Brown. Brown has an especially informed take given the fact she worked in unified communications at Microsoft for years before becoming a social-media consultant.)

I have no inside knowledge, nor any overheard gossip from my local craft beer bar (or creamery) to add here. But my two cents? There are three big reasons I believe this deal could come to pass.

One: The lead-up to Microsoft buying Yammer sounds almost identical to the lead-up to Microsoft buying Skype. Think about it: Microsoft already has technology inside its SharePoint collaboration product that is focused on enterprise social networking. But that technology isn't lightweight and still has little recognition outside the SharePoint community. (In fact, Microsoft and Yammer announced a deal last year to add a Yammer Web Part to SharePoint to make SharePoint more "social, mobile, and engaging for enterprise employees."

Yammer would be like Skype. In the case of Skype, Microsoft had its own homegrown VOIP technology, Lync (previously known as Office Communications Server) that did/does a lot of what Skype does. But Lync had/has zero consumer presence or brand recognition. So Microsoft shelled out $8 billion to buy technology that it is now working to integrate and differentiate from its own.

Two: Remember Microsoft OfficeTalk? Yeah, almost no one does. It was supposed to be Microsoft's Yammer. It was developed by Office Labs and seemed last year as though it was on its way to commercialization. Since that time, Office Labs has disappeared for the most part. And there've been no mentions outside the company of OfficeTalk being adopted by any Microsoft product groups. Last but not least: Microsoft still views Salesforce and Oracle as archrivals. Recently, Salesforce paid $689 million social listening and marketing outfit Buddy Media. Oracle bought a similar company, Vitrue, in May.The Softies are in the midst of adding more social feeds (that look a heck of a lot like Salesforce Chatter) to its CRM offerings. Yammer already is integrated with Microsoft CRM and supports all the leading mobile platforms -- and even Windows Phone.

Again, I have not received any recent information about a Microsoft-Yammer tie-up. I was caught off-guard by Microsoft's Skype buy last year. But I'd be less surprised by a Microsoft buy of Yammer now that the Redmondians have established a "we have this technology already but..." acquisition precedent.

Updae (June 14): The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yammer has agreed to sell to Microsoft $1billion, but doesn't know when the purchase will be consummated and announced.

Topic: Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Ouch!

    I have no idea what purchasing Yammer would cost MS but it won't be cheap. The MS collective ego will also take a hit when the new Y'softies tell the old pros how to do it.
  • Might this impact Office 2013 feature set or launch date?

    I would have to think so because I was under the impression there would be a number of social networking capabilities across the board in Office 2013. Unless these new capabilities are mostly in the form of platform integration points.. for social networks to leverage.

    Another reason "pro" acquistion. Yammer has existing integration with some of Microsoft's competitor products/services. SalesForce comes to mind.
    • Effect on Office 2013

      Hi. No... I doubt there'd be any effect on O2013. If they do buy Yammer, it will take months for regulatory approval. They won't hold up O2013 till this occurs. So all enterprise social networking features in O2013/SharePoint 2013 are already baked in. They could continue to offer Yammer parts as integrateable (is that a word?) add-ons. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Integration is a slow process

        Proclarity was purchased years ago. It is still maturing as PowerPivot within SharePoint. The same is true for FAST. Yammer would not be a "Microsoft Yammer" product until at least an Office 2013 Cumulative Update or Office v next.
        Your Non Advocate
  • Windows 8

    Well I think it is fine what Microsoft is doing with windows 8 and all the cloud services it is incorporating for windows 8. It seems that all this is for the business corporations but what about us home users? I'm a poor retired guy that lives on my computer and I have gotten used to the new windows 8 and kinda like it but it is not geared for the home user..I guess Microsoft has forgotten about us which is sad for the thousands of user's like my self.
  • Yammer

    Microsoft buys Yammer for $1.2 billion
  • Yammer