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Microsoft(s msft) announced Monday that the company has officially acquired social software startup Yammer for $1.2 billion in cash. The purchase was widely reported more than a week ago, but Microsoft confirmed the deal Monday in a press release.
As we noted earlier this month, the purchase could give Microsoft a social dimension to its popular corporate software products. Yammer creates a Facebook(s fb)-like experience for business clients.
Yammer will join the Microsoft Office division after the acquisition, but CEO David Sacks will continue to lead the group, Microsoft said in the release. Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office group, offered some thoughts on how Yammer might fit into the Microsoft world in a blog post that accompanied the formal press release:
The combination of Yammer, SharePoint and Office 365 will provide the most comprehensive and flexible solutions for enterprise social networking. Over time, I see opportunity for exciting new scenarios by adding Yammer’s stand-alone service alongside and integrated into our collaboration offerings with SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and Skype. I picture people being able to use Yammer to manage and expand their professional relationships, share and collaborate on Office documents, stay informed about content updates, and to seamlessly move from status updates and feeds into voice and video conversations.
Yammer most recently raised $85 million in a February funding round, which brought it to $142 million in total funding. The company currently has more than 5 million corporate users, including customers at 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies, Microsoft and Yammer announced along with the acquisition today.
“We think that Microsoft is a great partner for us,” Sacks said in a conference call Monday with DelBene and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. “I think it’s really the best possible partner in terms of its reach and resources, and its ability to help us scale.”
Ballmer said Yammer’s emphasis on cloud computing fits perfectly with Microsoft’s expansion into that area, and Yammer’s popularity with corporate clients makes it a natural partner:
“What we love about Yammer is that it was built on the notion that things can grow virally,” Ballmer said.
They noted that Yammer will remain in the San Francisco area even after the acquisition with Microsoft, which is headquartered near Seattle.
“When most people thought social networking was for kids, we had a vision for how it could change the way we work,” Sacks wrote in a blog post Monday. “Four years ago, we started paddling out to catch the wave that we’re riding today.”