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Microsoft Bakes Yammer into Office 365 Enterprise, Launches Partner Effort

Microsoft this week described some of its recent progress with Yammer, the enterprise social networking technology it acquired in mid-2012 for $1.2 billion.

All Office 365 Enterprise plans will now include Yammer Enterprise at no additional cost, announced Jared Spataro, Microsoft Office general manager, in a blog post on Wednesday. Previously, only Office 365 subscribers with Enterprise Agreement licenses were able to access Yammer Enterprise.

In addition, Microsoft will no longer require Office 365 users to purchase Yammer licenses for external users in order to collaborate with them.

"This simple licensing change significantly reduces the friction in cross-org collaboration and will enable end users to work with customers and partners without having to worry about additional costs," Spataro wrote in his blog.

Yammer is also included in SharePoint Online, which is a component of Microsoft's Office 365 service but can be purchased separately. Yammer is also available as a standalone product at no cost (for the basic-level service) or for $3 per user per month (for the enterprise-level version). Yammer's pricing page has more details.

To drive Yammer adoption through partners, Microsoft also announced the launch of the Yammer Customer Engagement Partner Program (YCEPP) on Wednesday.

Partners that are involved in the YCEPP get access to training workshops and online classes designed to help them guide customers through the process of purchasing, deploying and using Yammer in their organizations. The partner program supplements Yammer's in-staff team of "Customer Success Managers," who provide a variety of services for current Yammer users.

The YCEPP is by invitation-only, though interested partners will be able to apply to join the program sometime in the second half of next year, according to this blog post by Yammer's Mike Grafham.

Other recent changes to Yammer noted in Spataro's blog include the ability to launch a Yammer conversation for any document in the SkyDrive Pro Web client or SharePoint Online document library, and the ability to join a group Yammer discussion without a Yammer account via e-mail. Microsoft also made improvements to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Yammer apps, with plans to launch a revamped Apple iPad app in the future.

Microsoft is also working on deepening Yammer's integration with Office 365 with "user mapping," according to Spataro, which would let "Office 365 users...seamlessly access Yammer from their Office 365 navigation bar."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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