Microsoft eyes social network purchase

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Microsoft's reported to be on the point of buying business social site Yammer for more than $1 billion.

Founded in 2008, Yammer is similar to services such as Facebook and Twitter, but is designed for internal business communication. Users can set up profiles, take part in discussion forums and receive activity streams about what their colleagues are up to.

Its software-as-a-service is currently used by more than 200,000 companies worldwide, including eBay, Shell and Ford. It claims to have 85 percent of Fortune 500 firms as clients.

Buying Yammer could give Microsoft a big boost in the enterprise social networking market, where it's currently trailing competitors like Salesforce.com, Oracle and SAP in terms of integrating social features into business products.

Salesforce.com, for example, recently bumped up its social media capabilities by acquiring Buddy Media for $745 million, while Oracle has snapped up social data analysis companies Vitrue and Collective Intellect.

If the stories are true, Microsoft would most likely take advantage of Yammer by integrating it into products like Office, SharePoint and Lync.

According to Bloomberg, an announcement could come as early as today.