Microsoft acquires Yammer as social enterprise war escalates

Microsoft finds its way into the social networking world thanks to the acquisition of Yammer.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Rumors about a potential Yammer acquisition have been circling for weeks now. Microsoft officially confirmed on Monday that it is indeed buying the enterprise social networking platform.

See also: Microsoft buys Yammer for $1.2 billion

Although the deal is still subject to approval, the Redmond, Wash.-based corporation has pledged to pay $1.2 billion in cash for Yammer.

If/when the acquisition goes through, Yammer will join the Microsoft Office Division, led by division president Kurt DelBene. But Yammer team members will continue to report to their current CEO, David Sacks.

Despite any promises of autonomy, there's no denying here that Microsoft has essentially bought itself into the social enterprise business.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted as much in prepared remarks, explaining that "Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services."

But the Windows giant is not much different from a lot of other major tech players right now that are all doing the same thing.

As ZDNet editor Larry Dignan pointed out earlier this month, the big guns are chasing social enterprise at all costs.

For example, a few weeks ago Oracle paid approximately $689 million in cash and shares for social media analytics company Collective Intellect -- likely to round out its new public cloud offerings as well as catch up with archrival Salesforce.com and its acquired subsidiaries, Radian6 and Buddy Media.

One might ask whether or not is Microsoft too late on the social enterprise and media front as it is already trailing these companies as well as VMware, which now owns Socialcast.

But that's probably not the case, as ZDNet Enterprise Web 2.0 writer Dion Hinchcliffe recently posited we're only seeing broad outlines towards the social media end game -- or just an ongoing game at the very least.

Thus, with Microsoft's solid entry into the field, we're going to see the heat in this market turned up several notches very soon.


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