What is Yammer?
Yammer is somewhat similar to social-networking site Facebook
How does this help Microsoft?
Microsoft makes more than half of its annual operating income from its Office productivity software. And despite facing competition from Google
However, the company has been lagging behind in the enterprise social networking (ESN) space, while Oracle
For Microsoft, Yammer's highly popular enterprise social-networking platform can be used to enhance its Office software or to add to its existing enterprise collaboration offering called SharePoint. That program has some of Yammer's features, although its social-networking and document-sharing features remain largely unused by corporate clients, allowing Yammer to fill that gap. It will be interesting to see how exactly Microsoft integrates Yammer into its other offerings.
A Foolish conclusion
Yammer should strengthen Microsoft's software portfolio and should help boost the company's SharePoint offering, adding critical social-networking functionality to its enterprise offerings. There's a stark contrast between the frothy acquisition market in enterprise social networking and the stock price performance of its consumer-oriented cousin Facebook. The social network is the key topic of our latest special free report: Forget Facebook -- Here's the Tech IPO You Should Be Buying. In it, we outline another recent IPO that we believe offers a much better long term opportunity for Foolish investors. Grab your free copy today!