Only a month ago microblogging service Yammer had a quintessential “bad day” with the announcement by salesforce of a free Chatter service. Today it’s the turn of Socialtext (more on them here) to try and dig the knife in. Socialtext is today announcing a new Yammer migration service that will allow existing Yammer users to migrate to Socialtext for a discounted rate.
In their press release, Socialtext are quick to point out that their microblogging service is just part of their broader collaboration platform, they also point out the issues around Yammer’s freemium model. Socialtext CEO, Eugene Lee said that;
After discovering a free instance of Yammer inside their company, many CIOs and IT directors have told us that they have to pay Yammer just to get control of their data and manage their users. This offering will help them transition microblogging to a more secure social software platform, where they own their data and control how many licensed users they’d like to pay for.
Socialtext is relying on two assumptions with its microblogging offering:
- That companies will want the flexibility to be able to choose from a variety of deployment models – single-tenant or multi-tenant software as a service (SaaS) hosted in the cloud, or an on-site SaaS Appliance
- That in real life deployments, standalone microblogging will be less appealing than a fully integrated collaboration offering
There are some special terms of the actual offer, and existing Socaltext customers may be angry that they’re left in the dark as it only applies to new Socialtext customers. Yammer users who have a free instance of Yammer with more than 100 users can switch to Socialtext, and get a hosted or on-premise microblogging appliance, for an annual fee that’s 20 percent less (per user per month) than Yammer’s list price. Paying Yammer customers with more than 100 users can take advantage of the free migration service, and receive Socialtext Signals and Socialtext People for free for a year if they purchase the entire Socialtext social software platform for two years.
What does this mean for Yammer?
When Yammer launches over two years ago, many labeled them a “me too” offering. To their credit they’ve managed to gain significant traction in the marketplace despite significant competition. Times however have changed and the salesforce announcement was seem by many (myself included) as something of a death knell for Yammer (to which Sameer Patel wrote a counterpoint). Personally I believe the addressable market for a standalone enterprise microblogging product is significantly smaller than for a robust collaboration platform. That and salesforce’s aggressive model with Chatter free do raise some concerns for the ongoing viability of Yammer (especially considering the extensive funding and corresponding demands on payback that they’ve gained). The Socialtext move won’t kill them, heck it might not make any more than a dent in customer numbers, but it does show that there is a lot of jockeying for position going on, those who will remain standing are those who can provide a unique point of difference.
Meanwhile… Yammer rents some billboards. Ahem.