Microsoft announced today that it has acquired Yammer. Rob Koplowitz writes in a recent blog post that the acquisition could be “one of so many botched acquisitions we’ve seen in our industry, or one of the few really good ones.”

As it looks to integrate Yammer, there are two scenarios for Microsoft, each with a wildly different outcome, blogs Koplowitz. Here is what Microsoft needs to do to make this work, according to Koplowitz:

  • Keep Yammer largely autonomous. If Microsoft closes the offices in San Francisco and moves the operation to Building 36 in Redmond, the passion that drove Yammer will be gone in a heartbeat. 
  • Keep Yammer a pure SaaS play. When I first met David Sacks, he said they would always keep Yammer pure to the cloud, and he kept that promise. It is what has allowed Yammer to move so fast and stay so close to consumer trends in social. And I know he’s turned down some big money from customers that were willing to pay to have an on-premises implementation. Microsoft will need to do the same because once there is a common code base between an on-premises and cloud offering, it can never be as quick and nimble as a pure cloud offering again.
  • Fulfill the vision of a service. Yammer needs to be part of Office 365, but available anywhere, starting with Dynamics. While they shouldn’t own it, the Dynamics team should be able to fully leverage the asset. Everyone else should too. Yammer is currently following a road map that creates a social layer that can consume from any back-end system and feed into any user environment. In the long run, Microsoft wins if Yammer plays as well with SAP on the back end and an iPhone on the front end as with Dynamics on the back end and Windows Mobile on the front end. Not sure this will jive (no pun intended) with Steve Ballmer’s view of the world.