Salesforce Joins Forces With Amazon and Facebook - InformationWeek

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11/3/2008
10:27 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Salesforce Joins Forces With Amazon and Facebook

Force.com Sites wasn't the only announcement Salesforce.com made today at its annual Dreamforce 2008 conference. The company also said it was partnering with Amazon Web Services and Facebook.

Force.com Sites wasn't the only announcement Salesforce.com made today at its annual Dreamforce 2008 conference. The company also said it was partnering with Amazon Web Services and Facebook.The idea is to bring cloud computing together by letting developers build applications on the Force.com platform that appear natively inside Facebook. The deal with Amazon, meanwhile, makes the company's on-demand storage and computing services available from Force.com.

You couldn't escape the cloud metaphor, as witnessed by this photo I snapped in front of the event: clouds

Still, according to the Wall St. Journal: "Once you cut past the hype theres something pretty interesting taking place. Businesses that write software that runs on Salesforce.coms platform can now have the same software run on Facebook. And they can use Amazons services to support this software."

To me, the Amazon part of the announcement makes perfect sense, but I'm a bit puzzled by the Facebook deal. Most people use Facebook to stay in touch with friends, not for business purposes. You see a lot more party pics than resumes, and despite examples of recruiting, productivity and project collaboration applications, doing business in that environment offers the possiblity of some real culture clashes.

A press Q&A with Facebook CEO Marc Benioff and private meetings with other Salesforce execs couldn't quite clear up the confusion. Benioff did say that Salesforce plans to hook up with all the top social networks (think MySpace and LinkedIn), but wanted to start with the biggest and best.

Clarence So, Salesforce's chief marketing officer, wondered if my confusion stemmed from still being anchored in what's popular in both worlds today, as opposed to what will be happening tomorrow. So noted that Facebook is increasingly trying to appeal to business users, and said that several companies are running their intranets on Facebook and noted that Facebook now allows users to create multiple profiles for different purposes -- such as business and social uses.

He expanded on the recruiting application, explaining that a job posting on Facebook could get forwarded to other Facebook friends, vastly expanding its reach.

Similarly, Ariel Kelman, Salesforce's senior director, platform product marketing, said the Facebook deal could vastly expand the MyStarbucks idea application on Salesforce to the much larger universe of Facebook users.

Finally, despite the day's political and economic uncertainty, Benioff was characteristically exuberant: "In our opinion, there has never been a better time for cloud computing." He also bashed Microsoft's Azure cloud initiative as a "coalition of the unwilling." and "they hate everybody, we love everybody. That's pretty much the difference."

Wow.

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