Is Salesforce.com angry that Google launched its Google App Marketplace? The enterprise application and cloud computing provider isn't saying so if it is, and both Google and Salesforce.com claim they're getting along great. Still, while Google and Salesforce.com integrate on Google Apps, Salesforce.com did not join the Marketplace. After all, it has its own AppExchange store to tend to. Despite cordial statements from both companies, analysts see the Google Apps Marketplace as a definite challenge to AppExchange.
Neither Google nor Salesforce.com will acknowledge any
friction, but some industry watchers wonder whether Salesforce.com might be
secretly chafing at the launch of Google's Apps Marketplace March 9.
The Google Apps Marketplace
lets third-party software developers sell applications
that integrate with Google Apps, including
Google Docs, Calendar and the Sites Web publishing app.
Google Apps customers, which include 2 million business and 25 million
active users, can purchase project management apps from Atlassian and Manymoon
or billing and accounting software Intuit, among other services. This will
provide third-party software developers with a larger cloud computing channel
into which to sell their applications.
This store, which trades entirely in Web-based or cloud computing
applications, follows in the footsteps of Salesforce.com's successful AppExchange
cloud computing store.
There are clearly key differences, the most obvious of which is that, at
more than 4 years old, AppExchange is far ahead of the Marketplace. Google's
Marketplace launched with 50 partners, while AppExchange
touts hundreds of partner applications.
While Marketplace features collaboration software as the base,
Salesforce.com's anchor for apps is a CRM application
to help salespeople close deals.
Yet Marketplace and AppExchange both sell similar offerings, including apps
for project management and finance. There is overlap in services and
similarities in the SAAS method with which they are provided. That sounds a lot
like competition to analysts such as Forrester Research's Ted Schadler.
Schadler said that Google sees the opportunity to add a great layer of
integration to help expand the Google Apps ecosystem, where many independent
apps may be stitched together to prop up Google Apps. "It's a play for
share and momentum against Salesforce.com."
"[Google Apps Marketplace] is a marketplace for any cloud-hosted
application. So it's an integration hub as well as a marketplace. That puts it
in a different place from AppExchange," Schadler said. "It starts
with e-mail, not CRM, as the anchor. That's
much more interesting because everybody uses e-mail."
CRM is a specialty app, albeit a
IDC analyst Melissa Webster said she
isn't sure whether Salesforce.com was invited to join the Google's Apps
Marketplace, which includes Salesforce.com rivals NetSuite and SuccessFactors.
"My sense is that Salesforce.com was not in there courting Google, and
Google had plenty of other takers and doesn't really care," Webster told