In a Monday announcement, which confirmed long-running rumors of a Microsoft-Yammer merger, Microsoft revealed that it had agreed to acquire the San Francisco-based corporate social-network operator Yammer for $1.2 billion in cash.
Yammer specializes in social networking for businesses, and offers Facebook-like features to over 200,000 companies including Ford Motor and eBay. Often referred to as `Facebook for the workplace', Yammer offers the companies a social network that has essentially been designed to be increasingly attractive to the employees.
The acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft will witness Yammer becoming an organization within Microsoft's Office division; with the nearly 350 Yammer employees to continue their reporting to CEO Davis Sacks, who founded the company in 2008.
According to the information shared by Microsoft, while Yammer will continue to be a standalone service at Microsoft, it will also be integrated into some of Microsoft's own collaboration and communications offerings, like SharePoint, Office 365, Skype, and Dynamics.
Microsoft's takeover of Yammer - a deal which highlights a new trend in business software and perceived shortcomings in Microsoft's own products - will help the software biggie take on corporate social features like Salesforce. com's Chatter, along with startups like Jive Software and Asana.
Noting that the Yammer purchase will give Microsoft an instant edge in the fairly new but fast-growing `business social networking' space, analyst Wes Miller - from independent research firm Directions on Microsoft - said that the Yammer acquisition "provides a nice little bump for Microsoft."
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