Today (news, site) invites the entire online business world to partake in its enterprise collaboration efforts with the grand opening of Like Yammer, professionals need only a business address to sign up, and can start uploading and sharing immediately. Like Facebook, the new Web destination is inherently social and familiar. Sounds like a winning combination, doesn't it?  

A Free Private Social Network

Off the bat, signing up for enables users to communicate and collaborate with remote colleagues via features the social world has popularized: profiles, status updates, comments, real-time feeds, the ability to follow people or documents, etc.

Of course, the network looks and behaves in an informal way as well:

chattercom_profile.jpg profile

But however "consumerized" the Chatter may appear to be, Salesforce representatives are quick to shoot down the notion that the borrowed design means it should be utilized for  fun and games. 

"Over 500 million people use Facebook and are comfortable with how it works. We want them to be as productive in their work life as they are at home," explained Tim Barker, VP strategy, Salesforce EMEA. "But we're not trying to create a consumer product. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook taught the world about better collaboration, and we want to bring that to the enterprise."

Yeah, you guys and everyone else.

Same Game Plan, Different Company 

Yammer (news, site) is arguably Chatter's main competition. The social business platform did away with their own closed-door policy early last year, and announced similar intentions to go full-blown social network in the fall. 

Here's a screenshot of Yammer's angle: 


"Social networking has revolutionized how we communicate with our friends and family and it will have an equally dramatic impact on the business world,” said David Sacks, Yammer CEO. “Our mission is to bring this revolution inside the enterprise. We believe that every company’s people, communication and culture will eventually revolve around a private and secure enterprise social network.”

Sound similar? Of course it does. Enterprise collaboration is absolutely booming, especially when it comes to microblogging-based networks and platforms. (See also: MangoSpring, Socialtext, Socialcast.) 

So Who's Better?

We're not one to pick sides, but when it comes to Yammer and Chatter, most would probably say Yammer's in the lead. That's understandable, especially considering the fact that social microblogging was the company's focus from the get. Salesforce, on the other hand, is inherently about CRM.

But there's no doubt that will snag a healthy number of users and widen Salesforce's target audience. After all, signing up is a cinch and the prices are hard to ignore:  

  • is now generally available at no charge to anyone with a company email address
  • Salesforce Chatter is now generally available and included for free with all paying user licenses of salesforce CRM and
  • Chatter Plus user licenses are available for customers using Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition or Unlimited Edition for US$ 15 per user, per month.
  • Chatter Free is now generally available to all employees of paying customers at no charge

Interested? Off with you