updated 04:31 pm EDT, Thu June 14, 2012
Social network reported to go for more than $1 billion
Sources familiar with the negotiations tell Bloomberg that Microsoft is looking to purchase Yammer, a startup that provides private, collaboration-oriented social networks for businesses. The deal could go down as early as tomorrow, and Microsoft is expected pay more than $1 billion in the acquisition.
Founded in 2008 by former PayPal chief operating officer David Sacks, Yammer counts more than 200,000 companies among its users. Ford, Shell, 7-Eleven, and EBay are among the larger companies that use Yammer for its Facebook-like internal corporate communications and collaboration capabilities.
Should the deal materialize, it would represent yet another move by a large tech firm to shore up its social networking capabilities. Most recently, Apple revealed that its iOS 6 mobile operating system would feature deep integration with Facebook; and, yesterday, news emerged that Samsung was looking to build its own Facebook-like social network into all of its products over the next year, though the Korean company later denied the allegations.
Microsoft mobile software already features considerable Facebook integration, but the company's rumored acquisition of Yammer is likely aimed at the enterprise sector. Apple's iPad is making considerable inroads into the office—historically Microsoft's turf. To counter that trend, the software giant has been touting the enterprise-friendly aspects of its forthcoming Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 systems, which are said to feature more business-oriented apps and customizable security settings tailored for corporate IT professionals.