One of my previous jobs was working in the web division of a small company, and the supervisor there, along with being an Apple fanboi of the highest order, was also enamored with whatever was the new trendy social networking app of the week. Despite the fact that the majority of the people in the web department were crammed in next to each other in half-height cubicles and could easily talk to each other over the useless short cubical "walls," the supervisor still insisted that we used iChat to keep in touch with one another instead of speaking, and later in 2009 he added using "Yammer" to that list.
When I first saw Yammer I was incredulous with how its functionality wasn't already largely redundant with what we were already doing with our communicating back-and-forth in the department-wide chat room in iChat. If Yammer is the same now as it was back in 2009, it basically was kind of like a message board thread that you could post your own status updates to, and it asked the question, "What are you working on?" There really wasn't much special about the app besides the fact that it had the question "What are you working on?" listed beside its text-input box. And it was that question that was listed to the left of the input textbox that got my supervisor so enthralled with it-- the fact that the Yammer app directed you to enter what you were currently working on and nothing else made it seem like some kind of revolutionary new project management tool in my supervisor's mind. I could have just as easily typed-in what I was currently working on in the department's iChat chat room, but no, I had to type it in to Yammer now (and I didn't really want to have to type it in anywhere at all-- this supervisor was only sitting about 4-and-a-half feet away from me-- I could have just *told* him what I was working on instead of being forced to deal with the nuisance of programs like iChat and Yammer breaking my concentration all of the time).
So if you haven't already guessed, I wasn't particularly impressed with Yammer back then, and I was very critical towards whether such a program was in any way genuinely useful or just another distraction developed by some upstart flash-in-the-pan web company that was being forced on me by management. As a result, I am genuinely shocked to learn now that the company could potentially be valued at $1-billion-- as the AC above posted on Thursday 14th June 2012 12:45GMT mentioned, apparently some social software only has to be marginally useful to suddenly one day be worth insane boat-loads of cash. I guess that I have just wasted my chances at amassing any kind of fortune thus far in my life by developing programs that had clear utility and that solved real problems instead of developing frivolous flavor-of-the-month social networking tools. *sigh*
Personally, just like Skype before it, I don't know why Microsoft would be potentially interested in buying Yammer. I can actually see the real value of Microsoft possibly buying Nokia someday since Nokia has a valuable patent portfolio and is currently the prime producer of Windows Phone 7-powered smart phones, but I don't see the real value of Microsoft going after Yammer. Sure Yammer and its user base are worth something, but $1-billion just seems ridiculously high to me. There has just got to be some better company or product out there than this that is worth Microsoft spending a billion dollars on-- There has just got to be!!!