Update on April 1st, 2013: Added GoodReads (by Amazon), Jybe (by Yahoo), and VoterTide (by MindMixer)
Update on February 7th, 2013: Added BlueFin (by Twitter), GroSocial (by InfusionSoft), and Miso (by Dijit)
Update on November 28th, 2012: Added IdeaPlane (by Workshare), SkuLoop (by Revionics)
Update on November 6th, 2012: Added meetings.io, Producteev (by Jive), Social Dynamx (by Lithium), UrbanTag (by Tagged)
Update on August 27th, 2012: Added Kenexa (by IBM), PowerReviews (by BazaarVoice), Stypi (by Salesforce), Involver (by Oracle), Threadsy (by Facebook)
With thanks to Jeff Nolan, Alan Lepofsky, and Evangelos Simoudis for some of this data.
While investors want to get their returns, in the end, companies that put their customers first and foremost tend to do better than those that do not. Will the end game of social software result in most of the products under the wings of big firms? With this week's announcement -- be sure to read Larry Dignan's great analysis of this move -- that Microsoft is acquiring enterprise microblogging firm Yammer, the rollup of the industry has perhaps now reached a seminal phase. Or has it?
While a few companies in both enterprise and consumer social media have stood out and created their own destiny, for instance Facebook most recently joined LinkedIn and Jive as stand-alone masters of the social universe as public companies, most companies in the industry with a decent value proposition are instead going the acquisition route.
So, as the social media industry in all its forms matures, we might be seeing the broad outlines for the end game. Or, as it turns out, at least the ongoing game. Firms that offer successful collaboration software, social customer service, social marketing, and social media analytics are all currently in play or likely targets as they reach an interesting size. Yet, most don't have the kind of traction to achieve a dramatic IPO or even a major acquisition that would please their investors. In fact, I find that there are still too many social media companies and they haven't shaken out enough yet.
Yet there is significant pressure for acquirers to make moves now. Fueling these particular flames are data such as IDC's latest prediction that social software and team collaboration will be two of the three big areas that lead growth in the software industry this year. Industry leaders just can't afford not to get invested where the market has traction.
Choose Your Social Business Strategy Before Your Tools | InformationWeek
The Architecture of a Social Business | Dachis Group Collaboratory
The Social Business Index | Dachis Group
Social Business By Design | Amazon Hardcover (John Wiley & Sons, 2012)