Microsoft has indeed bought Yammer, a leading provider of enterprise social networks, for $1.2 billion. The acquisition finally was announced today, although the deed had been rumored for several weeks.
What does this mean for SharePoint?
Microsoft says nothing, at the moment. "Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer's adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype."
SharePoint expert and industry watcher Chris McNulty of Quest Software sees some benefits for SharePoint from the Yammer acquisition. “What Yammer could bring to SharePoint is rich collaboration functionality and better access via desktop, mobile, cloud and tablet apps, all of which will further accelerate SharePoint usage and adoption. The deal also plays into a growing trend of integrating social applications into the SharePoint platform – such as TripIt, Amazon, SlideShare, Twitter apps, Quest Web Parts, etc."
Don't look for Yammer to be integrated into SharePoint soon, however. McNulty adds, "It would take a herculean effort to get Yammer integrated into the next SharePoint release, so as a backup option it’s likely there will be an improved integration pack at the time of release. Bottom line; the benefits and implementation timeline of SharePoint plus Yammer must be made crystal clear to SharePoint customers because if it’s not, it’s possible they’ll wait a year, or, worse, until Wave 16 (SharePoint 2016).”
Interestingly, Yammer is only four years old, but it has won the love of many an executive. Mashable has an interesting post written when Yammer was just a two-year-old startup, that attempts to explain the company's success. TechCrunch does some meta-reviewing in its blog post about its fellow building occupant in "Yammer We Just Can't Quit You" about its employees' use of and issues with Yammer.