Wow, Redmond is really serious about collaboration, social networking and the web these days. I wonder where this leaves Messenger now that Skype is onboard and Facebook chat is fully integrated into Hotmail and Messenger.
In seeking to bolster its social credentials, Microsoft is reportedly on the brink of acquiring online networking company Yammer — in a deal potentially worth over $1 billion. Yammer is used primarily as a tool for group communication and collaboration within companies and started off life looking very much like an early version of Facebook. Unlike Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, however, Yammer proudly proclaims itself “the enterprise social network” and offers no pretense of competing in the casual socialization stakes. Current reports suggest that a deal between Microsoft and Yammer could be sealed as soon as this Friday, with Bloomberg’s unnamed source indicating that the price could be above the billion dollar mark.
Source: Vlad Savov @ The Verge
In all honesty, I am not sure what Microsoft wants to do with Yammer, unless they are thinking about creating some sort of Lync integration perhaps. I suppose it makes sense to have a cross company IM protocol, which allows the users to communicate with people in other companies. I know it would have made my life a little bit easier when dealing with partners and vendors. However, doesn’t Lync offer Messenger integration, which could be used for the same thing? Come to think of it, Web office also offers some pretty nifty collaboration functionalities, so if this rumor is true, it will be interesting to see what Yammer will be used for in the future.
Be that as it may, it most certainly seems that there is a war coming in the cross enterprise communication segment.
Update from Mary Jo Foley: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/three-more-reasons-microsoft-might-buy-yammer/12929