The rumors were right. Microsoft announced on June 25 it has bought enterprise social networking vendor Yammer for $1.2 billion in cash.
I doubt seriously whether Microsoft will be integrating any of Yammer's technology into Office 2013, as the client, server and services that are part of this wave are already quite far along in development. A public beta of Office 2013 is expected by many of us Microsoft watchers in July.
So what will Microsoft be doing with Yammer? Integration into existing Microsoft products isn't being mentioned by anyone from Microsoft today. From Microsoft's June 25 press release about the acquisition:
"Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer’s adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype."
So many folks have asked me since the original rumor-go-round began why Microsoft would want Yammer. After all, Microsoft already has several partnership deals in place with Yammer and has its own enterprise social-networking technology built into SharePoint.
Here's the official statement from Microsoft as to why it's ponying up for the company:
"The acquisition of Yammer adds best-in-class enterprise social networking to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services; world-class talent that knows how to deliver rapid innovation in the cloud; and a unique adoption model that appeals directly to end users."
(In my earlier speculation I wondered aloud whether Microsoft might be buying Yammer for similar reasons it bought Skype: It needed a cooler brand and wanted the cross-platform support. I still stand by those wonderings.)
As I blogged earlier this month, Microsoft was working on its own Yammer competitor, known as OfficeTalk. Last week, the Softies posted a downloadable case study which indicated that OfficeTalk is now nothing more than a Microsoft IT demo project.
When I asked Microsoft officials whether the company had decided against commercializing OfficeTalk after all, I received this response from a spokesperson: "Great ideas areas such as OfficeTalk, are always coming from The Garage. We have nothing new to share." (The Garage is a Microsoft internal incubator.)
Update: Here are a few additional tidbits from a call Microsoft and Yammer held for analysts and press about today's announcement: