The marketplace for hosted business applications opened another door on Monday. Leading on-demand CRM provider Salesforce.com announced that software through its AppExchange marketplace now is available to companies that are not currently Salesforce.com customers.
AppExchange is Salesforce's arena for third-party applications, but, until now, customers had to be subscribed to the Salesforce Automation (SFA) package first. AppExchange currently features about 575 hosted applications for such business needs as recruiting, legal, or finance.
Salesforce Platform Edition will allow any company to use its AppExhange platform for access to third-party applications. Companies also can use Salesforce's Apex platform and programming language to host their own custom-developed apps and share them with other companies through AppExchange.
"All Salesforce Platform components and applications can be easily shared, exchanged, and installed with a few simple clicks via Salesforce.com's AppExchange directory," the company said in a statement, "enabling all the innovation that the Salesforce Platform unleashes to benefit the entire on-demand community."
Now a 'Platform Company'
The price will be $50 per user per month for up to 10 AppExchange applications, with 25 custom tabs and 200 custom objects, or $100 for unlimited applications or custom tabs and up to 2,000 custom objects.
"Salesforce Platform Edition heralds the arrival of Salesforce.com as a platform company as well as an applications company," chairman and CEO Marc Benioff said in statement. "With Salesforce Platform Edition, customers can now easily extend the power, usability and success of on demand to every part of their enterprise."
Salesforce needs to stay ahead of the curve, said Counse Broders, a research director with technology research firm Current Analysis, because of a great deal of recent activity in hosted applications and platforms.
"We're beginning to see a variety of players providing an infrastructure for managed applications," he noted, such as OpSource allowing others to use their platform. He pointed out that AT&T, Verizon, and IBM also have made purchases to get into the hosted-applications space.
Salesforce said that one of the advantages of its platform is "multitenancy." Multitenant platforms, the company said in a statement, provide "a single, common infrastructure and code base that is centrally maintained," with all applications sharing a common security model, a data model, a workflow engine, an API, and user interface.
"The multitenant Salesforce Platform and applications are similar to consumer
Web services like Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay," the company said, "all of which run a single code base that is shared by all users and upgraded simultaneously -- delivering
all the benefits of innovative new releases, with none of the painful legacy of upgrades."
Salesforce.com also announced Monday the availability of Salesforce China Edition, a package of its CRM applications designed specifically for that market. Salesforce said that as of the end of January 2007, it had nearly 30,000 customers worldwide.
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