Salesforce.com and Google Apps are teaming up to deliver customer relationship management (CMR) services to a world dominated by Microsoft Office. Salesforce will be integrating Google’s free services into its infrastructure,
bringing together email, business documents, calendaring, and online chat with its customer services.
It is a huge boost for Google, which promotes Google Apps as a free, easy-to-use competitor to MS Office. With 41,000 customers, Salesforce will build a solid foundation for the productivity suite.
The partnership will help make Gmail the preferred email of many businesses, as it will be easy to read and save messages, open and edit documents, and chat online all under the same platform.
Customers will still be able to work with Microsoft documents if preferred, but many expect the integration to spread, slowly converting many to the Google Apps way of business.
As one might expect, some are critical of such an ambition to overtake Microsoft in the business arena.
ZDNet.com’s Joshua Greenbaum says, “Google’s terms of service severely hamper the usability of its Apps in the real world of corporate computing,” making it unappealing to many of Salesforce’s customers.
Still, the partnership gives credibility to Google’s free versions of Microsoft software. And it will also allow each Google application to be upgraded separately without disrupting its usability or that of the other applications.
It also shows the growing popularity of cloud computing, as users will access the applications from a cloud rather than storing them on their computers. It is this aspect of the partnership that many say may change business—and may already be changing business.
The Salesforce and Google Apps partnership may not topple Microsoft Office in the business world, but it does show a growing trend to make corporate data available on-demand and under the same platform umbrella.
By Danny Scuderi
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