Microsoft: Yammer Is Teaching Us To Write Software Faster

Jeff Tepper, Microsoft corporate vice president, at YamJam 2012

Photo: Ustream.tv

Microsoft, a key creator of modern-day programing tools, is learning a new programming trick from Yammer: how to update its own enterprise apps faster.In truth, Microsoft acquired Yammer for a bunch of reasons, according to Jeff Teper, a top executive at the software giant.

At Yammer’s YamJam conference, the company’s first big public event since Microsoft acquired the startup earlier this summer for $1.2 billion, Teper laid out the rationale for the deal in an on-stage chat with Yammer CEO David Sacks.

The obvious ones: Microsoft wanted to get a foothold in the fast-growing social part of the enterprise-software market, and it wanted to get more businesses buying cloud-based software—Internet services typically paid for through subscriptions.

The not-so-obvious one: Yammer had applied fast software-development techniques from the consumer space into enterprise software.

Microsoft knew about these techniques from its Xbox business, where programmers quickly tweaked games to respond to players’ behaviour, but Teper said it hadn’t occurred to the company to transfer those techniques to the enterprise business.

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