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Stop! Yammer time: Microsoft's social biz service becomes one with Office 365

Cofounder David Stacks steps aside as Redmond takes reins

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David Sacks, cofounder and former CEO of Yammer, has left his position at Microsoft after having steered the enterprise social networking service for nearly six years.

Sacks, a former PayPal exec who has been an angel investor in various startups and even once dabbled in producing and financing an independent feature film, launched Yammer at the TechCrunch50 conference in 2008.

Sometimes described as "Facebook for business," the service grew quickly, signing up 80,000 companies in just two years, which reportedly included 80 per cent of the Fortune 500. Its success soon attracted the attention of Microsoft, which acquired the company in 2012 for $1.2bn in cash.

Post-gobble, Yammer became part of Redmond's Office division, with Sacks still in charge as a Microsoft corporate vice president.

At the time, Microsoft's then-CEO Steve Ballmer said Yammer would become "a fundamental part of the Office family," although it was mostly off the radar for customers who just saw Office as a suite of applications to be installed on PCs.

Instead, the software giant bundled Yammer Enterprise as a feature of its cloudy Office 365 subscription plans for midsized businesses and larger.

Sacks gave no reason for his departure on Thursday, choosing merely to tweet his thanks to the Yammer team, both at Microsoft and before.

But the change comes not long after new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a major company restructuring that includes eliminating redundant engineering efforts and consolidating engineering groups so that developers working on similar products for consumers and the enterprise now work in unified teams. The Outlook.com and Exchange developers now work as one team, for example, as do the Skype and Lync developers.

The restructuring is also said to include as many as 18,000 layoffs, although most of these will come from the manufacturing division of Nokia's Devices and Services business, which Microsoft bought in April for $7.1bn.

When asked, a Microsoft spokesperson told The Reg via email that Sacks stepping down was part of the company's "long term plan" for integrating Yammer with Office 365:

Since we acquired Yammer in 2012 we have been working together to bring the integrated benefits of enterprise social to all our Office 365 customers.  As we've seen the Yammer experience extending throughout Office – giving people new ways to collaborate and work together – it's now time to bring the Yammer organization together with our Outlook and Office 365 Shared teams as the next logical step in delivering an integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication experiences that enable companies to work like a network.

As part of the Office 365 division, the Yammer team now falls under the oversight of Microsoft corporate VP Rajesh Jha. But according to Microsoft-watcher Mary Jo Foley's sources, Jha has already dispatched Kristian Andaker from Redmond to San Francisco to lead Yammer's engineering team there. ®

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