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Now Microsoft Partners Have To Care About Yammer

Well, I guess Yammer is the next social media phenomenon that Microsoft partners will be forced to pay attention to.

We've all seen it with Facebook and Twitter. Each platform went from something in the background to something that exploded among consumers to something that became critical to business. (LinkedIn became an everyday social network, too, but its business utility was always pretty clear.) Microsoft partners could ignore those social networks only at their peril once customers expected to see them and Microsoft started using the platforms for its to-partner communication.

Why does Yammer rise above the noise created by employee-facing social business software such as Huddle, Acquia, Igloo, TWiki, Cubetree, Watchitoo, Socialcast, Socialtext or Moxie? That's simple -- Microsoft announced a definitive agreement to acquire Yammer today for $1.2 billion.

Say what you will about the state of Microsoft's market power. It remains one of the few technology companies able to throw a billion dollars or more at a startup and raise the company out of that noise level. Now the question is whether Yammer will become a major element of Microsoft's public-facing technology stack or get swallowed up to be never seen again.

The fact that Yammer already seems to have a landing place in Office -- Microsoft's golden child -- is probably a good sign. The way Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft's Office Division, positioned the company in a blog post also bodes well for Yammer having a successful run inside Microsoft:

"Yammer provides a free service for employees to join a private social network that's intuitive and easy to use. It also enables IT departments to easily transition an employee driven initiative into a managed, social-networking solution," DelBene wrote.

He described Yammer as fitting alongside SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and Skype in enterprise social networking scenarios.

"I picture people being able to use Yammer to manage and expand their professional relationships, share and collaborate on Office documents, stay informed about content updates, and to seamlessly move from status updates and feeds into voice and video conversations," DelBene wrote.

In all, that sounds like a technology that will fit comfortably into the partner solution wheelhouse.

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Posted by Scott Bekker on June 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM