Sendia, of Santa Monica, Calif., developed a mobile application deployment platform that Salesforce.com officials say will simplify and speed up the process of deploying AppExchange applications on multiple wireless devices (including cell phones) and operating systems, including Windows Mobile, the Palm Treo and the RIM BlackBerry.
The Sendia technology will allow AppExchange developers to build their applications once and then deploy them on multiple wireless devices without heavy rewriting or tuning for each platform, said Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff.
Benioff contends that while wireless device users can readily access a large number of consumer applications on the Web, there are far fewer business Web applications. The availability of the Sendia technology will speed up the process of giving users mobile access to AppExchange applications.
Salesforce.com will offer the Sendia technology as AppExchange Mobile. AppExchange is an application development and launch platform that allows third-party software developers to give customers access to their software through Salesforce.coms Web interface.
Salesforce.com offers a core on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) application. AppExchange supports a diverse set of third-party applications including expense management, contact management, real estate sales, travel management, budgeting and human resources, among others.
Currently about 60 AppExchange products are mobile-enabled with the Sendia technology. Benioff said the rest of the 209 AppExchange products will be mobile-enabled in the next few months.
Chris Thomas, chief strategy officer with Intel, said the computer industry has needed a way to port business applications to mobile environments. There has been no easy way to do that, and Web browser-based applications dont work well on mobile devices without modification.
The Sendia acquisition is a relatively small, but fairly strategic acquisition for Salesforce.com because it allows it to quickly deploy AppExchange applications to wireless devices, said Denis Pombriant, founder of Beagle Research, a CRM market research firm based in Stoughton, Mass.
The acquisition makes sense because Salesforce.com acquired infrastructure technology that will make it easier to deploy applications on wireless devices, Pombriant noted. Its not trying to grow by acquiring new applications, he said, because it doesnt have to.
Instead, it has AppExchange to encourage third-party developers to deploy their applications on the Salesforce.com platform, Pombriant said. Salesforce.com generates revenue every time a third-party developer distributes its applications through AppExchange.