4. The Social Media Software Buying Binge
Although Salesforce released Chatter in 2010, it seemed like 2012 brought social media to the fore, with a number of IT vendors scrambling to jump on the bandwagon -- sometimes paying big bucks to do so. Microsoft's $1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer and its cloud-based social networking software for businesses was perhaps the most conspicuous move. SAP launched its Jam employee collaboration application, while Salesforce unveiled plans for its upcoming Salesforce Communities that will connect employees, customers and partners in a single network. Some acquisitions focused on tools for making better use of social networks for marketing purpose, including Oracle's buyout of Collective Intellect and Vitrue, and Salesforce's acquisition of Buddy Media (for $689 million). Others, including IBM's $1.3 billion acquisition of Kenexa, focused on using social networks for employee recruitment. "The social revolution is going on right now, and it is unlike anything we've experienced before," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (pictured) said in a Dreamforce keynote. "Business is social. Social networking is the fastest growing segment of the industry."