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Microsoft Reports Blockbuster Growth for Yammer Since Acquisition

Eight months after being acquired by Microsoft, enterprise social networking company Yammer is apparently doing fine.

In an announcement Wednesday, Microsoft painted a picture of progress over the last quarter and year for Yammer, which officially became part of the Microsoft Office Division in July. Yammer sales in the fourth quarter "quadrupled year-over-year (ended Jan. 31, 2013)," according to Microsoft.

There are now more than 7 million registered Yammer users, Microsoft indicated. In the fourth quarter, Yammer added "290 new paying customers," including companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Trek Bicycle Corp. and Woolworths.

Yammer uses a so-called "freemium" marketing model to get its foot in the door. It offers a free social networking tool, but its paid offerings include security and management capabilities for organizations. Microsoft indicated when it bought Yammer that it would continue that model, and that it would roll some of Yammer's enterprise social networking capabilities into various Microsoft products, including SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Office 365, Dynamics CRM and the Skype voice-over-IP service that Microsoft acquired in May of 2011.

More directly, Yammer is being added to products such as SkyDrive Pro, which is a storage, synchronization and document-sharing service for organizations that is replacing SharePoint Workspace. Microsoft is also updating Yammer to enhance file previewing and editing capabilities in conjunction with Office Web Apps, which are browser-based Office applications such as Excel, PowerPoint and Word. The Yammer updates for SkyDrive Pro and Office Web Apps will make it easier to discover content and collaborate using Yammer. Users can expect to see a rollout with those new capabilities sometime this summer, according to Microsoft.

"Our pace of development and innovation is picking up speed as part of the Microsoft Office Division," stated Adam Pisoni, Yammer's co-founder and general manager of engineering at the Microsoft Office Division, in a released statement. "The development teams are coming together quickly, and we are leveraging existing technologies such as SkyDrive Pro and Office Web Apps to swiftly deliver greater value for customers."

Nothing was mentioned in Microsoft's announcement about the progress of adding Yammer's social networking capabilities to Skype. A perfect venue for such an announcement would have been the opening keynote talk at Microsoft's Lync Conference 2013, which is taking place this week in San Diego. However, when asked on site about Yammer integration with Skype, a Microsoft spokesperson said that there was nothing to share at this time.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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