The platform is the Internet and SAAS, Software as a Service. These are among the newest buzz words in the corporate IT world. The proposed Google - Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) linkup brings together two of the top players in these segments and creates a whole that is greater than the parts.
Google has been making inroads slowly but surely with their Internet-based versions of the classic desktop tools like spreadsheets, calendars, email, instant messaging, word processing, etc. They clearly dominate Internet search and online advertising but also provide powerful facilities for specialized search that can be used on corporate web sites. They are also making their APIs open for developers to build applications around them. They are driving to make what has been a desktop toolset into a web-based toolset.
Salesforce.com specializes in customer relationship management software provided online as a service to their clients. Their applications provide analytics and campaign management in addition to full customer and partner sales and marketing functions. Each client company has its own customized version of the CRM software available for its employees and hosted at Salesforce.com data centers. The client companies are essentially outsourcing all the software development and support activities. They are also driving to make what has been a desktop toolset into a web-based toolset.
In all these scenarios, Google and Salesforce.com are using the Internet to deliver services to end users. They have essentially assembled the tools necessary to deliver a complete work environment for the corporate or SMB (small or medium-sized business) employee involved in sales, marketing, management or general office work. They are operating system agnostic, they require minimal end-user IT support, they run on less powerful PCs and they are focused on collaboration and communication. Further integration of their respective offerings would make a compelling package.
In stark contrast, Microsoft is barely a player in this space. Despite what they say, Microsoft remains wedded to desktop software, the Windows operating system and closed APIs. Google and Salesforce.com are moving to make the chasm between themselves and Microsoft deeper and wider.
In this context, it is no wonder that rumors swirl about Microsoft buying Yahoo.