The latest news from enterprise social network provider Socialtext isn't really a new feature, but an aggressive marketing move aimed at a competitor.
Today, Socialtext announced a free migration service designed to move companies with users of the Yammer microblogging tool to a discounted version of Socialtext. The deal offers companies a 20 percent discount on the Socialtext system, which includes a secure appliance for a suite of collaboration tools that includes microblogging integrated with wiki workspaces, blogs, spreadsheets and other social networking services.
Socialtext insists its move is in response to what potential customers say they want, rather than a grab for Yammer users.
"No, that's not the motivation for this," Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee told InternetNews.com. Lee said CIOs and other potential customers have been telling him the free version of Yammer is becoming an issue because employees are adopting it without IT authorization or control. "When an employee using that free version of Yammer posts something inappropriate or leaves, the company has to pay" to get control of that account, said Lee. "It's an unexpected cost and that leaves a bad taste in their mouths," added Lee.
Yammer employs a so-called Freemium business model where the basic service is free and users pay for additional features. "It's a business model end users and VCs love, but IT doesn't," said Lee.
Socialtext said companies that have a free instance of Yammer with more than 100 users can switch to Socialtext Signals and get the hosted or on-premise microblogging appliance for an annual fee that's 20 percent less (per user per month) than Yammer's list price. For those companies that have more than a hundred users of the paid version of Yammer, Socialtext said they can migrate to Socialtext Signals and Socialtext People for free for a year if they purchase the entire Socialtext social software platform for two years. Socialtext also offers a Socialtext Connect integration feature that works with systems of record across the enterprise, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft SharePoint.
A spokesperson for Yammer emphasized the product has evolved beyond a microblogging tool to a full-fledged enterprise social network. Yammer released its first major upgrade last October, Yammer 2.0 that added applications including Polls, Events and Links to the core microblogging service and opened the platform up to outside developers.
Socialtext's announcement shows "competitors are doing what they can to grab a piece of the pie from the market leader," the spokesperson said in an email to InternetNews.com. "Our strategy is to continue innovating on our own product and creating value for our users. We believe that our strong growth and market momentum is reflective of the satisfaction among our customers."