Feeds

Salesforce pitches to become the 'iTunes' of enterprise apps

Sharing, ripping, charging for CRM

Website security in corporate America

Tapping into the rhetoric around Web 2.0, hosted CRM provider Salesforce.com has billed its latest online service as the "iTunes of enterprise applications."

Chairman and chief executive Marc Benioff has launched AppExchange, a hosted service for ISVs creating, posting and sharing business applications for download by end-users.

AppExchange, part of Salesforce.com's Winter 06 CRM release, also "mashes up" - or integrates - customers' account information like sales data with third-party services - such as mapping from Google Maps - through the open Salseforce.com API.

At a launch event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Salesforce.com demonstrated the Winter 06 interface featuring a Google Maps tab. When the tab was clicked, it showed the familiar Google map only marker bubbles contained information about sales teams. Sales teams were then re-assigned with business rules set through the Salesforce.com system.

Benioff said Salesforce.com is now like the iPod and iTunes store in that it allows users to receive content from a directory while allowing ISVs to post content and be compensated for their work. AppExchange contains 162 applications including Skype's free VoIP internet calling service and Business Objects' Crystal Reports for business intelligence.

Benioff separately told The Register that Salesforce.com hoped to make money from AppExchange by increasing its subscriber base, rather than charging ISVs for posting applications or taking a percentage of the money developers make using the service.

AppExchange and the Winter 06 release creates the "business web", using technologies like browsers, search, marketplaces and RSS pioneered in the "consumer web."

Benioff asked rhetorically: "Why can't there be an eBay of enterprise applications and an iTunes music store of enterprise applications, where we can write to the services we need to run our business? If it's so easy for us to get our music and news, how do we do that for our business as well?"

Salesforce.com has introduced two new datacenters worth $50m with mirroring planned next month to support the service. Their introduction follows last year's outage in the Salesforce.com service that Benioff said was due to a bug the company hadn’t “seen before.”

Benioff believes AppExchange helps maintain Salesforce.com's lead over CRM rivals Oracle and SAP and aspiring player Microsoft. All three have spoken of separately providing their own hosted CRM services and integrating their underling software architectures.

In a pointed stab at the trio, Benioff said: "A lot of companies are not here. They are still back talking about stacks of applications, delivering it on old technology and delivering stacks on old CDs. The technology is so big you have to ship it on a ton of DVDs. You are not able to create all this synthesis or leverage," Benioff said.

He added Oracle, SAP and Microsoft are unlikely to move to hosted services because it threatens their existing business model, based on software maintenance revenue streams.

He furthermore sought to prove AppExchange and Salesforce.com are the kind of services that traditional, large, enterprise-class customers currently using client/server software from Oracle and SAP can – and do – use. Salesforce.com has been forced in recent years to prove its is suited to the needs of large users and not just small and medium sizes businesses (SMBs).

Accordinng to Benioff, Salesforce.com has 6,700 subscribers at payroll specialist ADP, 4,500 at Cisco Systems, 3,900 at Symantec and 3,100 at Sprint/Nextel. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.