Microsoft to buy Yammer for $1bn: Could this be its big reveal?

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Microsoft is set to buy business-focused social network Yammer for US$1-billion, according to a Wall Street Journal article, citing the ubiquitous people “familiar with the matter”.

The news comes just hours after the Redmond-based company sent out an event invitation for a “a major Microsoft announcement”, sparking speculation that it would announce the deal at the event.

According to the Journal however, “it is unclear when the Yammer acquisition will be completed and announced”.

Microsoft and Yammer representatives both refused to give any comment to the news outlet.

Some have speculated that Microsoft’s announcement could include a partnership with RIM, which is unlikely for a couple of reasons. First, it has pretty much cemented its relationship with Nokia, a company with enough problems of its own. Its unlikely that it would want to associate itself with another sinking ship.

Second, it hasn’t been all that long since RIM started allowing Android-based apps to be built for its platforms. It’s unlikely that it’s going to piss off the already small number of people who develop for it by switching to Microsoft.

Others think the announcement could centre on a tablet built in-house. You can read what our sister site Gearburn had to say about that idea.

As The Next Web points out however, it seems odd that Microsoft would call a press conference for an acquisition. Think Facebook’s Instagram deal here. Yes it is big news. A billion dollars is big news in most business deals. But it doesn’t require a mystery press conference. Those are for big reveals.

Still, the Yammer acquisition would beef up Microsoft’s business offerings considerably. It’s no accident that Yammer is called Facebook for the workplace. Companies are also increasingly expected to use social in their company structures.

As companies cotton onto the fact that using in-house social properly will make them more successful, the market will only get bigger.

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