Microsoft didn’t want to buy Yammer, they needed to.

David Barrett —  June 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

My hat’s off to the Yammer team for their $1.2B acquisition by Microsoft!  I think everyone else has already said about everything, but I wanted to add my own spin: the incredible valuation of Yammer isn’t that it’s social — that’s so 2012.  Rather, Yammer’s value is that it is pioneering a revolutionary sales model that is going to wholly transform the enterprise space.  I wager Microsoft bought Yammer not because it needed to plug a social hole, but because they saw it as fundamentally lower-cost-of-sale model that threatens Sharepoint’s long-term success.  This wasn’t about adding Yammer’s revenue, but about preventing an even greater loss of Sharepoint revenue.  This was a defensive move on Microsoft’s part to avoid being disrupted by a competitor they can’t possibly beat.

Said another way, I suspect Microsoft didn’t buy Yammer because they wanted a piece of their $22M revenue stream.  Especially as, so far as anybody has reported, Yammer didn’t get that revenue in a profitable manner.  Rather, Microsoft bought Yammer because they were afraid if they didn’t, people would gradually leave Sharepoint for it.  Even if Yammer can’t profit from those users, Microsoft can, and they want to ensure that they do.

Like anything, I’m sure there are a hundred angles, all of which bear some grain of truth.  But the one I hadn’t heard was about Microsoft’s deep seated fear that whether or not they wanted Yammer, they needed it.

David Barrett

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Founder of Expensify, destroyer of expense reports, and savior to frustrated employees worldwide.

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