By Karen Moss
Microsoft has bought the office social network site Yammer for $1.2 billion. The business, which is four years old and has five million users, operates like Facebook for communication within companies.
Yammer is used by motor giant, Ford, and business services firm, Deloitte.
Microsoft hopes the acquisition will make its range of software products more appealing. Last year it bought the communications business Skype and integrated it with Microsoft products.
Yammer's chief executive David Sacks says: "When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big. We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we'll need to scale and innovate."
Richard Britton, managing director, CloudSense, says: The acquisition of Yammer is validation that social business delivers efficient and effective ways of communicating digitally - something that companies have been looking to achieve for a long time and which has its origins in consumer platforms now being picked up by businesses.
This is a reversal of the business app filtering down to consumers. The democracy of the Internet has allowed this trend and it is gathering pace. Business social networks can be the glue that binds a company - the trick for Microsoft will be opening up its wider application suite to “Yammer” with the humans."