Microsoft to buy Yammer – SharePoint implications?
It looks official that Microsoft will acquire Yammer. This has led to lots of speculation about why and what it means for intranets.
I suspect that Microsoft are more interested in the user base than the technology, as this is pretty trivial to replicate, and they were already on that path with Office Talk. It may also be a more predatory move to knock-out a fast-growing rival to Office 365, particularly as Microsoft is now saying SharePoint is moving to be ‘cloud first’
One of the better cases is put on the Intranetizen Blog, arguing that integration will be a big plus if you’re one of the many organisations running both platforms at the moment and struggling with multiple logins, profiles etc. I think they’re right – it’s especially good news if Yammer has infiltrated your organisation virally and you don’t really want it as a platform, but can’t get rid of it either. Intranetizen also argue that it’s probably bad news if you have SharePoint + Chatter, Tibbr or Jive due to the functional overlap. Mind you, the next release of SharePoint is likely to see much more overlap anyhow.
Read-Write Web argue that it is to beef up weak social tools in SharePoint but I’m not convinced. The next version (“Wave 15”) due end of this year is said to be much better anyhow and integration of a disparate technology can be harder than creating from scratch.
Given how close the next SharePoint is to beta release, I doubt Yammer will be integrated at first, but Microsoft are said to be moving to more frequent release cycles so it could well happen in the first service pack around this time next year. It’s much more likely that you will feel the impact earlier if you’re on Yammer but not SharePoint, because Microsoft will be keen to start nudging you towards Office 365. From an intranet manager point of view, I’d probably be holding off any Yammer-related decisions for the next 6 months until the product paths are clearer.