Is Microsoft LIGHTING UP the Social Media Space?

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is set to enter the newly popular social network marketing management space, with the company said to be in discussions to acquire Yammer. Microsoft may pay more than $1 billion, and a deal may be reached as early as Friday, Bloomberg reported.

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Shares of Yammer rival Jive Software (NASDAQ:JIVE) jumped on the news, rising more than 11 percent on Thursday morning to be at $18.61. The industry has already seen a lot of activity lately, with salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) acquiring social-marketing tools providers Buddy Media and Radian9, and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) buying Vitrue and Collective Intellect, two other companies that analyze data on social-media sites.

Owning Yammer will help Microsoft add social-networking tools to its offerings to corporate customers and help its efforts to include cloud and social networking features in its Dynamics business apps. In April, Yammer announced integration with Dynamics, allowing updates from it to appear as activity stories in the Yammer Ticker.

Yammer was founded by David Sacks, the former chief operating officer at PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY). The San Francisco startup, which provides features for internal corporate use similar to Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB), has over 200,000 clients including names such as Ford (NYSE:F) and Shell (NYSE:RDS). According to ZDNet, Yammer is used by 85 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. Yammer provides its basic service for free, but has a premium version for $5 per use per month.

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