Microsoft has reportedly agreed to acquire business private social network services provider Yammer for $1.2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported late yesterday, citing unnamed sources close to the deal.
Neither Microsoft nor Yammer have confirmed the deal.
San Francisco-based Yammer has reportedly raised more than $142 million in venture capital funding since its founding in 2008. The company claims to have more than 200,000 customers worldwide, including DHL, Ford, Orbitz, 7-Eleven, SuperValu, Razorfish, Shell, and Capgemini.
The purchase of Yammer could add new social features to Microsoft Office. Within the Office suite, SharePoint already provides some of the same features as Yammer, but many customers use it to power internal corporate Web sites rather than for collaboration.
"There's not a lot of overlap between SharePoint and Yammer," says Mike Snyder, principal at Sonoma Partners, a Microsoft CRM partner, reseller, and integrator. "[Dynamics] CRM also has some social capabilities with its activity feeds, but it's nothing like what's available in Yammer."
Yammer already had tight integrations with Dynamics; just last month the company announced a Dynamics integration that enables updates from the CRM solution to appear as activity stories in the Yammer Ticker. Dynamics users who install the plug-in can follow important records, such as accounts, campaigns and opportunities. When changes to these records occur, an activity story describing the event is published in Ticker in real time.
Data from Dynamics will also appear in Universal Search, a comprehensive search engine that allows users to find information in Yammer as well as applications integrated into Yammer.
Snyder expects Microsoft, which has expressed an interest in social networking, to tie most of its other business applications into the Yammer platform. "I'd expect them to use this as their social network and tie everything into it," he says. "It could be the one social platform that works across all of Microsoft's products."
Snyder is "excited" about the potential sale and thinks it "will be great for our customers." Nonetheless, he hopes that if the rumors are true, Microsoft will do a better job of making use of the technology than it has with its Skype acquisition. The company acquired Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 billion.
"It would be crazy for them to buy [Yammer] and not integrate it into all their products," Snyder says. "I hope they'd be more aggressive with this than they've been with Skype."