SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Salesforce.com Inc. on Sunday unveiled new tools to help developers write more powerful business applications for the company’s online market for Web-delivered software.
Salesforce plans to give developers access to the company’s software code and host the resulting business applications programmers create on its computers, effectively subsidizing independent developers to build Salesforce-ready programs.
“You can open up a browser, create anything you want and run that code on our service,” Kendall Collins, a Salesforce marketing executive, said in a telephone interview.
The initiative deepens the company’s competition with Microsoft Corp. because it means Salesforce developers no longer need rely on software-writing tools from Microsoft or pay for the computers and databases to run such applications.
Saleforce, a pioneer in delivering software programs as a service rather than selling them as packaged applications, is looking to transform AppExchange, the marketplace it has created to encourage independent programmers to share software with its customers, into an alternative to Microsoft software.
CSFB analyst Jason Maynard said the company’s goal is to turn AppExchange into a full-fledged computing platform that can do for Web businesses what Windows does for desktop computer users or the Oracle database does for big businesses.
“We think the movement toward on-demand computing is still in its stages of adoption and the company is well on its way to becoming the next big platform provider,” Maynard wrote in a research note published on Friday.
The company said that by making its Apex program code and other tools available in early 2007, it hopes to build on fast-growing demand for Web-delivered software while driving more sales of software licenses needed to use AppExchange.
“What we get out of it is very clear,” Collins said. “We get more subscribers because ultimately with more apps that can run on demand every one of these users needs a Salesforce license.”
Salesforce, whose stock has soared some 85 percent since it introduced the AppExchange a year ago, does not earn money when users buy and sell applications on the exchange. Rather it profits by signing up subscribers to its general platform.
The AppExchange also gives Salesforce a way to offer business applications beyond its core customer relationship management, or CRM, software that helps companies track and manage sales.
According to Gartner, Web-delivered software will grow to 25 percent of business software revenue in 2011 from 5 percent in 2005.
This represents a big chunk of an overall all market worth tens of billions of dollars and has spurred the likes of Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and SAP AG to push aggressively to compete in this market.
Salesforce sees boosting the exchange as a way to better compete with bigger rivals by giving potential customers a broader range of software to choose from to run their business operations. The online marketplace now boasts some 400 applications, up from 70 when it was introduced a year ago.
Salesforce, which spent $50 million over the past year on beefing up its computer data centers to support its plans, has rented out the building of former rival Siebel Systems, now a part of Oracle, to attract more developers.
It will rent out space to independent developers, provide them software writing tools, technical assistance and sales and marketing support and access to venture capital funding.
Fuente: Reuters, Michael Kahn