Microsoft's current Office business unit -- which is being morphed into the new Applications and Services team -- is one of the pioneers at Microsoft in true cross-platform delivery.
(And in this case, cross-platform doesn't mean across different flavors of Windows; it means across different operating systems and clouds, both Microsoft's and those of its competitors.)
The latest proof point comes from the Yammer team at Microsoft. Last week, the Yammerers (Yammerites? Yammologists?) rolled out a new Yammer browser extension, allowing users to participate in social-networking conversations more easily from inside their browsers.
In this case, "browser" didn't equate to Internet Explorer. The team rolled out the extension for Google Chrome on July 24. Here it is in the Chrome Web Store.
The new extension adds a Yammer tab to Chrome's menu and allows Yammer users to share Web pages they are viewing by clicking on the Yammer icon, choosing which group they'd like to post into, and then sharing their own comments with a link to the page. The browser extension also will notify users if there is an existing Yammer conversation about a particular Web page.
Currently the Yammer team doesn't have a date as to when it plans to deliver a similar extension for IE, a company spokesperson said, when I asked.
Yammer built the same functionality it is providing with the Google Chrome Extension into Windows 8 via integration with the Share Charm, which allows users to share Web pages into Yammer from IE, the spokesperson said.
So why choose to go with Chrome ahead of IE? From the aforementioned Yammer spokesperson:
"Our development methodology at Yammer is based on lean principles, releasing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and making further enhancements based on user behavior. In exploring features to make it easier to share with Yammer from your browser, we decided to release on one platform first and observe usage and engagement to inform future support."
Minimum Viable Product, popularized by the Lean Startup, means the Yammer dev teams are focusing on building "lite" versions of products or features, which are released to a subset of users for data-gathering purposes. The idea is this approach helps vendors more efficiently build, test and continually hone their products.