Friday, June 15, 2012

Microsoft += Yammer

UPDATE 6/16/2012: According to CNET, Microsoft tablet will run Windows RT, a variant of Windows 8, that has subset of Windows 8 features available.  Check out how Windows RT is different from Windows 8 here.

It looks like Microsoft is buying Yammer for $1.2 billion according to WSJ.  This marks the third major acquisition of social networking company this year.  It follows from Oracle's acquisition of Vitrue and Salesforce's acquisition of Buddy Media.  Yammer had released SharePoint connector back in late 2010 and acquired OneDrum, Microsoft Office document collaboration tool, earlier this year.

Microsoft is not stopping there.  There are rumors that Microsoft will announce its own tablet running Windows 8 at an event in Los Angeles coming Monday.

Although Facebook IPO disappointments may have created lowered expectation for future of social network, the real promise of social network lies in collaboration and fostering innovation.  Especially to corporate america, that is a real problem that everyone thinks about.

Microsoft is going after enterprise collaboration space.  SharePoint is already wide spread among enterprises and have been used as internal wiki or blog sites (as well as file server).  Adding Yammer will mean that now Microsoft will have easier way to connect to SaaS collaboration platform and share information locked in SharePoint more easily with customers and partners.

Not only that adding tight integration of Windows 8 with tablet will allow Microsoft to compete more effectively with market creator iPad.  As more than half of Americans are expected to get online from tablet by 2015, this is a battle that Microsoft cannot afford to lose to Apple to stay relevant in OS market.

Unknowns will be user adoption of Windows 8.  Skeptics of Windows 8 have been growing recently, especially with less-than-flattering review of Windows 8 user experience.  Whether Windows 8 will be able to overcome those skeptics by providing compelling applications and whether developers will be able to take their share from delivering applications are not clear at the moment.

But with Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer at hefty $1.2 billion valuation, it is increasingly clear that there are lot of winners from Facebook's massive user adoption.

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