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Open-source Sugar rips open partner pack

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SugarCRM is taking on Salesforce.com with a version of its service and software package that can be customized by partners.

The company has released the Sugar Platform Edition, letting OEMs, service providers, and independent software vendors tailor the Professional or Enterprise versions of its PHP suite and re-package them as part of their own offerings.

SugarCRM has also announced Sugar Logic, a set of development tools to customize its PHP-based suite.

Larry Augustin, SugarCRM's chief executive, said in a statement the OEM edition would serve a growing partner base. This version means potentially shorter development time and faster and easier upgrade for those hanging on the suite.

Partners can run SugarCRM on Sugar's own hosted platform, on their own services, on the Amazon cloud, or on Microsoft's Azure cloud. Or - if they're old school - partners can install Sugar on-site, as it also comes as a boxed product.

But Salesforce.com is clearly in SugarCRM's cross-hairs.

A key difference between customizing Sugar and Salesforce is the openness of the code: Sugar is built using PHP, but Salesforce uses the company's own, proprietary Apex programming language which runs only on the Salesforce platform.

SugarCRM is a poster child of the early software-as-a-service movement but - partly thanks to the managerial decisions and policies of its former CEO - it has been eclipsed by CRM SaaS fellow traveler Salesforce.com, led by the larger-than-life and headline making Mark Benioff. ®

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