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Microsoft Prepping Yammer for Office 365 Rollout This Summer

Microsoft this week talked up Yammer prospects.

Yammer is the enterprise social networking company that Microsoft bought last year for $1.2 billion. Based on Microsoft's last fiscal 2013 third-quarter earnings report, Yammer sales "grew 259% year-over-year" and 312 new customers were added, the company announced this week. In February, Microsoft had reported that Yammer sales had quadrupled during Microsoft's fiscal 2012 fourth quarter.

Microsoft is currently working on content, identity and messaging aspects of Yammer for use with Office 365, which is Microsoft's cloud-based bundle of services, according to the announcement. Yammer is part of the Microsoft Office Division, but the company has talked about expanding its capabilities across various Microsoft products, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Skype voice-over-IP service, in addition to SharePoint and Office 365.

Microsoft also announced this week that it has been integrating its Yammer sales teams. The company expects to increase those teams from 100 sellers to "several thousands" worldwide by this summer.

Microsoft appears to be so enthusiastic about Yammer that it suggested that organizations could switch to using Yammer over the SharePoint newsfeed in an announcement made in March. Gartner has suggested that organizations stick with Yammer for social networking based on this emphasis by Microsoft. However, the research and consulting firm also has noted that not all companies can use Yammer because it's a wholly cloud-based service and local server installations aren't supported.

An updated Yammer release is planned for this summer that will integrate with Office 365 products. Microsoft first began selling Yammer for Office 365 services in March, with an E1 Plan priced at $8 per user per month, according to the Yammer price list. Back then, Microsoft indicated that it planned to ship Yammer Enterprise with all Office 365 products (E1 to E4 Plans), at no additional cost, but that deal is only for customers with Enterprise Agreement licensing. To get Enterprise Agreement licensing, an organization has to have more than 250 users or devices licensing Microsoft's software over a minimum three-year period.

In addition to the Office 365 and Yammer integration work, Microsoft has indicated a few other product updates planned for this summer. For instance, Microsoft has previously said that it plans to roll out Yammer integration with Microsoft's SkyDrive Pro cloud-based collaboration and storage service this summer, as well as a Yammer integration with Office Web Apps.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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