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Hot on the heels of Salesforce.com's purchase of Buddy Media earlier in the month, it is Microsoft's turn to grab a social network. This time the target is popular enterprise networking service Yammer, with a billion dollar deal on the cards. It could be completed by Friday according to Bloomberg which is reporting news of the deal, that started out as excited rumors from within Yammer earlier in the week.
Yammer offers collaboration, file sharing and project management at a range of price points, with a free basic offering topping out at a $15pupm enterprise deal with SharePoint integration. That would make it an easy fit for Microsoft who needs something embedded in SharePoint to widen collaboration. Yammer heavily updated last its SharePoint integration last year, which will help users collaborate without leaving the SharePoint environment.
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With enterprise-level security and the usual cloud service uptime guarantees, Yammer has grown rapidly since its 2008 launch and now has some 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies using it in some capacity, plus millions of smaller companies. many of whom are all-remote offices, an increasingly popular way of working.
Microsoft will be keen, if the deal goes through, to offer its other services to those companies to help spread the likes of SharePoint, Office (in cloud or desktop form) and so on. Will we see wide integration of Yammer with Microsoft's enterprise products, as we are starting to see with Skype (which cost Microsoft $8.5 billion)?
Assuming the deal happens, Oracle, Salesforce and now Microsoft will have snapped up enterprise collaboration services. This leaves us wondering who will be next on the block, perhaps Huddle? Or, if this category is all tapped out, then will the popular cloud storage guys or another type of service be next on the list for the market's big players?
We'll update this story as news develops. Neither Microsoft or Yammer are commenting officially at this point.