Delbene says Yammer acquisition official, explains vision | Microsoft
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SharePoint, meet Yammer. Lync, meet Skype. Now get along, kids…

It’s official.  On his personal TechNet blog, Microsoft Office Division President Kurt Delbene has confirmed today that Microsoft is acquiring Yammer.

We can gather a couple things from this.  One, the announcement comes from Mr. Delbene, so this is now an Office Division play beyond all doubt.  SharePoint and Office 365 are the primary landing zones for the Yammer tech down the road.

“The combination of Yammer, SharePoint and Office 365 will provide the most comprehensive and flexible solutions for enterprise social networking.”

That said, there’s still a potential Dynamics connection and SalesForce/Chatter compete scenario at play here– and perhaps an echo of my own suggestion that Yammer will form a more natural bridge between Microsoft’s CRM tool and SharePoint– their platform for everything else that users do.  It certainly reads like a secondary goal, though.

“Over time, I see opportunity for exciting new scenarios by adding Yammer’s stand-alone service alongside and integrated into our collaboration offerings with SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and Skype.”

Do you see what’s missing from that line, though?  Where’s Microsoft Lync Server?  I see Skype, but no other mention of how voice and video play into this– oh, wait.

“I picture people being able to use Yammer to manage and expand their professional relationships, share and collaborate on Office documents, stay informed about content updates, and to seamlessly move from status updates and feeds into voice and video conversations.”

Still no Lync?  So really, we need to remember the larger context– not just what Yammer means to SharePoint, but what Skype means to Lync. And what will that be, exactly?  Will the Lync tech be folded under the Skype brand as part of Skype-for-the-enterprise?

Numerous pundits have already sounded off on the apparent value of keeping the likes of Skype and Yammer semi-autonomous within the Microsoft product stack, and while he confirms it with one phrase (“stand-alone service”), Mr. Delbene also seems to be seeing a future where Yammer is doing their yammering with (“integrated into”) everyone else in the Office world and beyond.  Interesting.

I’ll close with one last point of curiosity– Mr. Delbene references last fall’s version of Microsoft’s “Future of Productivity” video.  The video was very focused on social networking and how Microsoft viewed it.  This is important, because when Jared Spataro took the video’s talk track on the road last year, he focused not on new functionality but on mobile and the cloud. Delbene:

“Last October, I posted a concept video showing Microsoft’s view on the future of productivity. The video envisions how mobile devices, social computing, interactive content, cloud computing and natural user interfaces will change the way we get things done at home, at work and at school.”

Microsoft had no cloud-based social networking solution at the time, so in hindsight one wonders just how long this acquisition has been in the works.  Delbene’s announcement is sure to set off even more guesswork around where his company and products are going next.  Let the speculation continue….

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