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Microsoft Pushing Yammer to Office 365 Business Subscribers

Microsoft is pushing down its Yammer social networking service to most organizations with Office 365 subscriptions, starting as early as today.

Microsoft's announcement of the push likely pertains to its Yammer Enterprise service, which is offered with most Office 365 subscription plans. Only the Office 365 Government plan doesn't include Yammer Enterprise (it's offered as an add-on option).

There's also a Yammer Basic service, which is the free-to-use consumer version of Microsoft's social networking service. It doesn't appear to be the focus of Microsoft's announcement, though.

The Yammer push down doesn't seem to have been announced before today. Office 365 services get updated essentially whenever Microsoft wants to update them, although a Windows 10-like service model exists for Office 2016.

Yammer is still alive as a product. Microsoft killed off its Customer Success Manager support team that had begun after it integrated the Yammer team. That action caused speculation about Yammer support at Microsoft, but today's announcement affirms its commitment. Yammer continues to get integrated across multiple Office 365 products.

Yammer Distribution Plan
The Yammer distribution to Office 365 subscribers will happen in three waves, happening over a several weeks' time. Here's how that looks:

Wave Customers Affected Notes
1 (Starts today) Office 365 Business customers with <150 licenses and Yammer included Must have zero or one custom domains for Yammer
2 (Starts March 1) Office 365 Business customers with <5,000 licenses and Yammer included Excludes Office 365 Education subscribers
3 (Starts April 1) All remaining Office 365 Business and Education customers

Microsoft's Yammer rollout this year to Office 365 subscribers. Source: Office blog post.

Possibly, organizations with Office 365 subscriptions may not be using Yammer. However, it will be coming, whether it's wanted or not. And it will arrive "without requiring additional action on the part of admins," Microsoft's announcement indicated.

In addition to the rollout to existing Office 365 subscribers, Yammer will be turned on by default for all new Office 365 subscriptions.

"Also, starting February 1, 2016, Yammer will be seamlessly activated on any newly created Office 365 tenant with a subscription," Microsoft's announcement indicated.

The key to this rollout for IT pros is whether they have domains associated with their Office 365 subscription. Microsoft's Yammer push-down will "either create a new Yammer network or connect to an existing Yammer network that has all or a subset of domains managed on the Office 365 tenant," Microsoft explained.

IT pros can use the Office 365 management portal to manage the Yammer subscriptions. Microsoft describes the only way to block end users from getting Yammer as using the Office 365 management portal to "un-assign Yammer licenses."

End users included under the Office 365 tenants will be able to launch Yammer from a specific Yammer tile in the Office 365 app launcher or they can launch the program from within Office 365 apps. The update won't affect "existing Yammer users who do not have Office 365 credentials."

Future Office 365 Integration
Microsoft is promising further integration of Yammer across Office 365 services.

Yammer will be hooked into the Office 365 Groups service sometime in the first half of this year. Office 365 Groups is a service that allows people to discover information in an organization through the creation of public or private groups. It's part of Microsoft's e-mail, calendar and OneDrive for Business storage applications. Yammer will be able to connect to Skype calls, as well as Outlook calendars and OneDrive files, Microsoft's announcement promised.

Microsoft is also promising that Delve, the Office 365 Video Portal, SharePoint and Skype Broadcast will be able to "start a Yammer conversation."

Microsoft also let the public know today that it will "deprecate" its Yammer Now mobile app on March 4, 2016, which means that it will stop developing the application by that date. Yammer Now is a lightweight version of the Yammer app for iOS mobile devices. It was first rolled out in December of 2013.

In addition Microsoft plans to remove "real-time messaging" from its Online Now feature in Yammer. The real-time messaging will get replaced by "direct messaging," which will happen "in the next several months." No details were provided, but Microsoft put both product deprecations in the context of Yammer's integration with Office 365 as well as Skype for Business' "real-time capabilities."

About the Author

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

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