Microsoft Closes Yammer Acquisition

by Pedro Hernandez

Yammer officially becomes a Microsoft property less than a month after the two companies announced the acquisition.

That was fast. During its Q4 2012 earnings call, Microsoft said it had completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer, a provider of enterprise social networking software.

While outlining Office 2013's new social features, particularly the new social media-enabled People Card contact management interface, Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's general manager of Investor Relations, told call attendees on Thursday "this morning we announced that we have closed the Yammer acquisition."

Yammer's technology accelerates Microsoft's momentum in its growing stable of cloud offerings like Office 365. Koefoed stated that "Yammer adds best-in-class enterprise social networking to our portfolio of cloud-based productivity services."

Cloudier, More Social Enterprises

Enterprises use Yammer's cloud platform to establish private social networks. At last count, the company boasted an estimated 5 million users (some of whom use a free edition) and a customer base that includes 85 percent of the Fortune 500.

Yammer's platform makes it possible for workforces to collaborate using features popularized by Facebook and Twitter like activity streams, status updates and sharing. It integrates with popular business software platforms, including Microsoft's own SharePoint.

Catering to the bring your own device (BYOD) crowd, Yammer also provides a mobile app for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone.

Big Social Influence in Enterprise Apps

While still early in the Microsoft-Yammer integration process, the social startup's influence is already being felt in Redmond. During Monday's Office 2013 announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer described how cloud computing, tablets and the company's recently acquired properties -- Yammer chief among them -- are guiding the evolution of Microsoft's flagship application.

Microsoft isn't the only company feeling the pressure to incorporate social media into its business software offerings. Nor is it alone in spending big bucks to get the job done.

In June CRM giant Salesforce bought social media marketing outfit Buddy Media for $689 million. Last year, it spent $326 million to acquiring social CRM specialist Radian6.

In May Oracle reportedly spent $300 million to acquire Vitrue, a provider of cloud-based social marketing services. In June, it followed up that deal by snapping up Collective Intellect, a social intelligence firm.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

  This article was originally published on Friday Jul 20th 2012
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