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Salesforce.com embeds Skype into CRM

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As part of its sustained campaign to dominate the emerging world of on-demand applications, salesforce.com has announced a version of the Skype Internet-based telephone software to work with its Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) package.

The special version of Skype, developed by the German voice-over-IP specialist PamConsult will enable salesforce.com users to incorporate phone communications in their CRM applications. The package is available free through salesforce.com's on-demand software directory AppExchange.

Users of Skype for Salesforce can make and receive calls or initiate text chats directly with other Skype users. Contact names and presence indicators can be added manually or imported automatically into Salesforce. Non-Skype users with traditional telephones can be called with a single click and the package can be used for conference calls with up to ten Skype or non-Skype users.

Phill Robinson, chief operating officer for sales at salesforce.com, says the Skype extension is another important component in the AppExchange portfolio which will help promote the platform as the leading on-demand application environment: "We are trying to build a developer community around AppExchange and with this announcement developers can embed Skype in high order applications. There are 575 applications in AppExchange now and we want it to be to on-demand computing what Windows was to client server."

He says there is a gathering momentum around AppExchange and the Skype development represents a shift in the type of technology being built for the platform: "The profile is changing. A year ago, they were building on the CRM application because of salesforce.com's presence in the market. But now I think people are choosing AppExchange because it is the best platform."

The Skype development follows a number of moves by salesforce.com in recent months to promote its on-demand AppExchange platform including links with Adobe's Flex. ®

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