– By acquiring Yammer June 25, Microsoft revealed two important things: first, it has finally awakened to adding a tried-and-true social network as a major focus of its catalog; and second, SharePoint isn’t the socially aware work collaboration offering it had once purported it to be.
For the last five years, Microsoft has been selling its SharePoint document-sharing application as a total tool for group work, and it has been a large success in many ways. In fact, it has been Microsoft’s finest enterprise software development in recent years.
But as a pioneer in the sector, SharePoint inherently lacked some key capabilities – real-time engagement is a major one – that workers are accustomed to using today, and the company knew it had to made a move.
SharePoint has a lot of strengths as a content management system, but it certainly isn’t a complete suite of capabilities.
“As a former member of the SharePoint product team, I’d be the last to say it’s not a powerful tool. But its lack of features for social engagement has become a big liability,” Oudi Antebi, a software developer and former Microsoft employee, wrote in his blog.
“At this point, I think Microsoft is acknowledging internally that the current version of SharePoint–as well as the next-generation ‘Wave 15’ version, which is around the corner–doesn’t provide real social capabilities. The company is probably looking at Yammer as a way to close the gap.”
What does the acquisition of this new-generation internal network do for Microsoft’s overall offering and for the sector?
“No question that this news is a huge validation for the space,” Tony Zingale, chairman and CEO of Jive Software, told eWEEK. “If you remember, the world’s largest software supplier claimed for at least five years that the SharePoint content management system was, in fact, their social offering.
“They tried in ’07, they tried in 2010; they were going to try in 2013 to put out SharePoint versions that were going to add social features. So by evidence of this announcement today, a $1.2 billion all-cash purchase, of a company that was nothing more than an activities stream and a ‘freemium’ supplier, it’s pretty significant evidence that as the enterprise retools, that Microsoft was behind. And they needed to take action to integrate social capabilities–not only into SharePoint, but also Office 365, their CRM tool Dynamics, and a host of other things inside that Microsoft stack.”
“From that standpoint, this is a big day, because this brings the need for social to front and center,” Zingale said.
Microsoft has proved that they have not had “social” as part of their strategy and they are already five – 5 – years behind the competition in developing a social strategy and social solutions. Buying Yammer will not solve everything as Sharepoint does not integrate with Yammer, even though Yammer does integrate with Sharepoint.
Microsoft bought Skype. But so far nothing has happened integration wise. Skype is still Skype and competes with other Microsoft solutions. I believe they did not buy Skype to get the technology and integrate it, but they bought their customers and market share.
It will take years and years for Microsoft to come up to speed with their competitors in the Social Business segment. And it will take years and years until the get a full integration between Yammer and Sharepoint. In the meanwhile customers has moved into Social Business with solutions from other vendors.
It is the exactly same thing that happens for Microsoft in the mobile market. They are simply too late! That is the big problem with a monopolistic success. The top management does not dare to change the success formula, they focus on defending their market share. Innovation disappears and slowly – and often too late – they understand that the world is moving on. But without them!
This is the beginning of the end for Microsoft!