Microsoft Office to get social after $1.2bn Yammer buy

Microsoft has bought the enterprise social network Yammer in a bid to boost the software giant's cloud portfolio.The $1.

Microsoft has bought the enterprise social network Yammer in a bid to boost the software giant's cloud portfolio.

The $1.2 billion (£769 million) cash deal was announced on Monday, confirming rumours of the imminent acquisition. Yammer will continue to run as a standalone service, both it and Microsoft said, but Microsoft will push its adoption as part of a range of cloud services that also include Office 365, SharePoint and Skype.

Yammer

Microsoft is to buy the Yammer enterprise social network. Image credit: ZDNet.com

"As a Yammer customer, you will continue to get a secure, private social network — delivered with the same focus on simplicity, innovation, and cross-platform experiences," Yammer chief David Sacks, who will continue to head up the company as part of Microsoft's Office division, said in a blog post. "Over time, you'll see more and more connections to SharePoint, Office365, Dynamics and Skype."

Yammer gives Microsoft a rival to Salesforce.com's Chatter, also a social networking tool of sorts. Indeed, Microsoft has previously experimented with this sort of thing, notably with its OfficeTalk trial a couple of years ago.

However, according to a report in The Seattle Times, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer is particularly keen on the 'grassroots' nature of Yammer's adoption.

"Consumerisation of IT is a trend which I think perhaps more than almost any other company out there, Yammer has gotten right with its viral adoption model," Ballmer was quoted as saying on a conference call. "Yammer now has a sales model that we like: viral adoption by the end user, the consumer inside some kind of professional organisation, with the option for IT to buy enterprise-level capability and management."

Yammer has itself been acquisitive in the recent past — in April it picked up the UK firm oneDrum so as to add file-sharing capabilities to its product.