Microsoft Yammer buy great news, says cloud CIO


blog Will Microsoft’s $1.2 billion purchase of corporate social networking firm Yammer be a positive event for the future of enterprise IT? Yes, according to Alan Perkins, one of Australia’s leading IT executives when it comes to understanding cloud computing. Perkins, who in his previous role at electronics design firm Altium pioneered software as a service and cloud computing technologies, has penned an extensive blog post about the Yammer acquisition. He writes:

“That Microsoft has decided to acquire Yammer shows great insight by Microsoft, and a willingness to think creatively about tackling the new world of social media. Microsoft will be able to leverage Yammer’s platform in many areas of the business … Yammer has potential to make a big impact throughout much of the Microsoft product line.”

Perkins believes the Yammer acquisition could have an impact on many Microsoft products, ranging from Office to Project, and from Outlook to Sharepoint. “Even SQL Server and Visual Studio could provide hooks that enable the database or an application to feed easily into a Yammer stream, or respond to a Yammer feed,” he adds. The executive does have his reservations about the acquisition, noting that any move to “productise” Yammer alongside other tools in the Microsoft Office suite may not be the best approach. But in general he seems pretty positive about the situation.

Personally, I agree with Perkins that the Yammer acquisition has great potential for Microsoft, and I think it’s also true that Yammer had struggled to turn its massive informal adoption into hard revenues. Microsoft will no doubt be able to help with this. However, I also don’t want to see Yammer built into absolutely everything Microsoft does in the enterprise. If Redmond applies the ‘Yammer hammer’ to all of its products and integrates the social networking tool everywhere, that could get quite annoying. The integration needs to be done tactfully, so as not to throw out all the work practices large organisations have already built up around Microsoft’s products.

Yammer and Microsoft — a match made in heaven or the potential for disaster? Post your thoughts below this article.

Image credit: Yammer


  1. The acquisition is unlikely to have much impact in the short term, although it may give Yammer an advantage when negotiating with some enterprise buyers through their new link to Microsoft. Certainly the acquisition won’t impact the immediate next release of SharePoint.

    There is of course massive potential to integrate activity streams and other social computing concepts across the Microsoft suite of products. What remains to be seen is if this is in fact Microsoft’s strategy and are they able execute the idea quicker than companies like Jive or Salesforce. This strategy would also need to fit into Microsoft’s broader partner strategy – directly this includes vendors like Newsgator and Neudesic Pulse, but indirectly this also includes other system integrators and resellers. I actually think that’s a bold play, as it would require them to become the de-facto activity stream provider in the enterprise. There is also the small detail of Yammer being a cloud-based solution too.

    Despite all the speculation, I don’t think this will become much clearer until we hear and see more details about what will actually happen at Yammer next. When I met with Yammer in San Francisco a few weeks prior to the news breaking about the acquisition I got the impression that they had their own ideas about taking Yammer beyond being a simple “virtual water cooler” app – in this respect, maybe the best think that might happen is that Microsoft treats them as an important partner so we get to see what evolves there, much as I see other companies like TIBCO and SAP doing with their own Yammer alternatives (tibbr and StreamWork respectively).

    • @James – I think your last paragraph makes a very good point. Done right, it’s not about simply embedding Yammer in SharePoint, it’s about creating an Enterprise social layer with the ability to aggregate across a bunch of products (and people too, of course!). This would echo Yammer’s thoughts on pulling in data streams, and – as you say – is where the likes of Tibbr, Chatter etc have been heading to also.

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