We just finished listening to the Microsoft-Yammer press conference with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Yammer’s David Sacks, and Microsoft Office president Kurt DelBene. One thing they talked about over and over again is how Yammer comes into the enterprise through its users.Ballmer calls it a “viral adoption model.” He’s CLEARLY excited about having people who can teach Microsoft how to do it.
“What they’ve done is amazing,” Ballmer said. Yammer is “very unique” among companies that sell their wares directly to users. “You can’t find anyone who’s really built virally that still has great respect from the IT department and love from the users.”
It’s very easy for IT guys—who make their living supporting the hardware and software their colleagues use—to get touchy about rogue employees using unapproved software and services. Yammer has largely avoided that, Ballmer is suggesting.
Ballmer repeated that idea a bunch of times adding that Yammer’s “adoption model” was something that Microsoft was “excited about and want to pour more content into it.”
He compared it to Office 365—which is sold to enterprises the classic way, through some form of enterprise contract. That’s in part because there are options with Office 365 which require per-computer licenses of Microsoft Office products.
Viral adoption is a pretty new model for Microsoft. Microsoft is clearly hoping Sacks can teach it this new trick.