Microsoft confirms Yammer acquisition

As expected, Microsoft’s announced that it’s buying business social networking site Yammer, for $1.2 billion in cash.

Under the widely-rumored deal, Yammer will be incorporated into Microsoft’s Office Division, headed by  Kurt DelBene, with the team continuing to report to current CEO David Sacks.

Founded in 2008, Yammer offers a Facebook-like service to businesses,  with over five million corporate users representing more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500. 

Its basic product is free, with the company making its money from more advanced versions including improved administrative and security controls, integration with enterprise applications, priority customer service and a designated customer success manager.

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love,” says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

“Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Microsoft says it plans to carry on development of Yammer’s service as a standalone product, although in the long term there should be integration with SharePoint, Office365, Dynamics and Skype.

“With the backing of Microsoft, our aim is to massively accelerate our vision to change the way work gets done with software that is built for the enterprise and loved by users,” says Sacks.

“As a Yammer customer, you will continue to get a secure, private social network—delivered with the same focus on simplicity, innovation, and cross-platform experiences.”

Document management company KnowledgeTree is a user of Yammer, and senioir director of product marketing cautions that that Microsoft must focus on keeping implementation easy and the product up-to-date.

“As Yammer integrates into the Microsoft stack there will be a temptation to broaden the solution too much and make roll-out part of long runaway SharePoint implementations. Don’t do it! Keep Yammer easy to adopt,” he says.

“Yammer rolls out new functionality fast. But SharePoint and Office are on much longer delivery cycles. We’ve come to expect rapid turn-around on new and enhanced tools from Yammer. Please don’t slow innovation and delay the roll-out of new functionality.”