June 25, 2012
yammer-logoAmid Microsoft’s $1.2 billion buyout of Yammer, an enterprise social media platform, keep a close eye on Office 365. Indeed, it’s a safe bet Office 365 and Yammer will converge over time — though Microsoft doesn’t want to make any rash moves that alienate current Yammer partners and customers.
Microsoft claims Yammer has five million corporate users, and the enterprise social media platform touches 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The Yammer business will join the Microsoft Office Division, developing synergies with Office 365, SharePoint, Skype and more. But Microsoft doesn’t want to rush too fast into the integration talk.
Instead, the software giant wants to give Yammer customers and partners peace of mind, letting them know that Yammer won’t suddenly change course overnight. Indeed, look at this carefully worded — and very smart — statement from Microsoft:
“Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer’s adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype.”
So in a sense Microsoft wants to have Yammer both ways — predictable and continuing to grow in its current format. But innovative and starting to integrate with Office 365 and other services.
For channel partners just getting started in the cloud, Yammer and enterprise social media could open new doors to customer conversations. Already, many customers are checking out Salesforce.com’s Chatter, and upstart solutions like Novell Vibe want in on the conversation. But Microsoft’s massive channel could make Yammer quite the conversation piece going forward — especially if Yammer somehow surfaces as part of the Office 365 cloud bundle.
You can bet that will happen. The questions is when.
Microsoft’s buyout of Yammer still faces regulatory approval. And if history is any indication, it typically takes Microsoft three to four quarters before synergies begin to surface between existing and acquired products. The safe bet: Office 365 with Yammer synergies will surface by mid-2013.
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