Microsoft seems to have a pocketful of billions sitting around. First Skype, now Yammer – an enterprise social network service launched back in September 2008 that looks almost like Facebook minus the title bars. According to Bloomberg, the deal could reach up to a billion dollars. To date, Yammer claims 200,000 companies which include more than 400 of the 500 Fortune companies. One reason for the purchase may stem from their social-like Sharepoint platform which has been a lost cause to solutions by Salesforce.com and Oracle. Incidentally, Google tried to get in this marketplace indirectly with Google Wave. Sharing documents, messages and collaborating in the enterprise world is essential to all businesses but outside of Sharepoint’s biggest supporters, it simply has a hard time being sold to IT directors and CTOs. With Yammer, Microsoft could gain some leverage in the market. With Skype in their pocket and a decent portion of equity in Facebook, they could potentially do some knowledge sharing between the two platforms, bolster their marketshare in the search engine market, and integrate their productivity tools (i.e. Office) in a more tighter and active environment.
It also helps when their social network looks a little familiar: