Yammer CEO David Sacks just unveiled a number of new products that could redefine the operator of corporate social networks.
Right now, people sometimes mockingly refer to Yammer as a "Facebook for business," based on both the strong resemblance between Yammer and Facebook's websites and the noisy, Facebook-like chatter that can develop on Yammer threads.
At his company's first YamJam conference in San Francisco, Sacks just revealed plans to move beyond the surface resemblance to take on Facebook's core function of identity, and apply it to the workplace.
Yammer is now introducing tools for embedding Yammer feeds inside other pieces of software and letting users log into that software with their Yammer accounts.
Just as many websites now use Facebook accounts for logins, comments, and other features, Yammer wants to make its service equally indispensable within business software.
Sacks even demonstrated Yammer embedded within a Salesforce.com page—showing how this strategy can let Yammer subvert its archrival.
Sacks argued that while Salesforce.com is typically used by salespeople, Yammer's used by entire companies—so integrating Yammer within Salesforce is a better, less expensive way to get salespeople collaborating with colleagues from other departments. (Salesforce offers a Yammer competitor, Chatter.)
It's far from clear how successful the strategy will be, especially given that most big makers of enterprise software compete with Yammer's new owner, Microsoft. But smaller startups which make Web-based business software may find it makes sense to get drawn into Yammer's embrace.
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