Another big #SocialMedia buy! @Microsoft buys @Yammer for $1.2B!

Jeremy Hobson: Microsoft is making a $1.2 billion bet on social networking. The computer software giant is buying Yammer, which is like Facebook for businesses.

John Dimsdale reports Microsoft is trying to catch up on a growing trend in office software.

John Dimsdale: Yammer is already used by more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including Ford Motor.

Scott Monty: I’m Ford employee number one on Yammer.

Scott Monty, the manager of Ford’s digital communications has been using it since 2008.

Monty: You can think of Yammer as just Twitter or Facebook for behind the firewall. How employees can connect with each other in a more social way.

Collaborating on office projects without all those emails and pdf documents. Forrrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz says nearly half of U.S. businesses already have an investment in social media.

Koplowitz: If this is about to become mainstream software, Microsoft needs to make sure they’re in a dominant position in this market.

Microsoft plans to integrate Yammer’s inter-office communication tools into its suite of Office software, like Outlook, Excel and Powerpoint.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.