Microsoft is buying social networking service Yammer in a $1.2 billion deal. The Redmond giant is seeking to bring social media to enterprise customers through its Office suite. Yammer employees are likely safe for now, given the company will be allowed to operate autonomously and continue to develop its standalone service. Yammer's team will also continue to report to its current CEO David Sacks, says Microsoft. In the longer term, Microsoft will use Yammer to shore up its social networking efforts. With the last release of SharePoint 2010, Microsoft took some hits about lacking social networking and particularly about the feasibility of including the latest social features in a product that sees a new major version only every three years. Yammer is already integrated with SharePoint, so the acquisition is an opportunity to bring the product deeper into the fold.

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