Yammer CEO defends Microsoft merger

Yammer's CEO: "There was never a time we shopped around the company."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yammer founder and CEO David Sacks has defended his company's recent sale to Microsoft as the social enterprise war continues to get more heated.

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Sacks sat down with Michael Arrington during a fireside chat at TechCrunch Disrupt SF on Wednesday morning, and Arrington didn't waste any time in asking about the $1.2 billion deal.

"Selling your company is always a hard decision," said Sacks. "You want to make sure it makes sense, and it's something you want to do."

Sacks wanted to point out that this wasn't the first offer that Yammer had, but he said the Microsoft purchase made sense because it has more products and assets that are "complementary" to the enterprise social network.

But Sacks shot down Arrington's question about whether or not there was a potential merger with Twitter, as one example, explaining that he's been a big fan of the micro-blogging platform and advised some of his "VC friends" to invest in it.

"There was never a time we shopped around the company," Sacks explained later. "What happened was people came to us."

Sacks responded to comments on Tuesday made by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who voiced his strong disagreement with sale of Yammer to Microsoft.

Sacks said that he could understand why Benioff is concerned, but he didn't entirely shy away from hinting that Salesforce could be nervous based on the integration of certain Yammer and Microsoft-owned products, such as Skype and SharePoint.

"It's not a combination that I'm sure he relishes," Sacks posited.

Arrington followed up by asking point blank if Sacks thinks it's because Benioff is scared, to which Sacks responded jokingly, "Now you're trying to get me to call him a coward."

As for Sacks's role at Microsoft once the deal is done, Sacks said simply that he has made a long-term commitment to stay with the company.

Arrington countered that he made a similar promise after AOL initially purchased TechCrunch, which garnered a few laughs from the audience. To recall, AOL fired Arrington just one year ago, and the split was less than amicable.

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