Microsoft is close to acquiring a social media platform called Yammer, in a deal that could be worth $1 billion, Bloomberg reported today. According to Bloomberg, which cited a couple sources close to the negotiations, the whole thing could go through as soon as tomorrow, meaning Yammer might well join the ranks of Instagram and OMGPOP – two other tech properties recently snapped up for serious chunks of cash.
So hey, what's Yammer?
A social network for businesspeople, basically. It allows users to share documents or presentations on a protected network. So salesman A in Idaho can wirelessly share news of the latest conference with saleswoman B in New York, without worrying about confidential data being compromised. In Silicon Valley speak, sites like Yammer are called enterprise social networks.
And they can be extremely useful to companies – Bloomberg says 200,000 companies around the world currently use Yammer, including eBay and Ford. Currently Microsoft uses SharePoint as its primary enterprise tool, Computerworld reports. SharePoint was developed in-house. With Yammer, Microsoft may be looking to expand the kinds of services it offers.
"Regardless of what Microsoft might do with Yammer, assuming the rumors are true, the company will immediately make up a great deal of lost time relative to its rivals, which have been in the market with much more mature enterprise social networking capabilities," Brad Shimmin, an analyst at CurrentAnalysis, told Computerworld.
Others weren't so sure. Speaking to eWeek, Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research said Microsoft was "late to the party." If the company does acquire Yammer, Chowdhry added, "it wouldn't really do anything for Microsoft. It's just like their lack of a mobile strategy. The market has already been taken."
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