Salesforce.com Fortifies Chatter by Buying Dimdim Conferencing for $31M

 
 
By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-01-06
 
 
 

Salesforce.com bought Indian Web conferencing company Dimdim to add critical real-time communication capabilities to its collaboration platform, the company said on Jan. 6.

Salesforce.com paid $31 million in cash for the Dimdim acquisition, which closed today.

Dimdim offers an "open core" Web conferencing program that doesn't require the installation of any desktop software and is based on an open-source platform. The product Salesforce.com is acquiring isn't actually open source, although a community version of the product is available on SourceForge. The browser-based Web conferencing platform provides real-time collaboration capabilities, as well as the ability to share documents, record sessions and a whiteboard, and use video, voice and phone conferencing. Dimdim "enables communication in the cloud," according to its CEO, D.D. Ganguly.

The Web conferencing features will be integrated into Chatter, the enterprise social network platform, which Salesforce.com announced in late 2009 and officially released in June 2010. More than 60,000 customers have deployed Chatter so far, Salesforce said.

The company played up comparisons to Facebook while discussing the acquisition. Dimdim will allow the company to add communication features to Chatter, "mirroring the proven Facebook model" of offering collaboration and communication in an integrated service, the company said. The company expects the integration to result in greater Chatter adoption and increase customer loyalty.

Salesforce.com wants to replicate in the software-as-a-service enterprise business application field what Facebook has done for individual consumers: build a comprehensive collaboration platform for sharing information and ideas.

"Facebook has fundamentally changed the way we communicate in our personal lives," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com. The Dimdim acquisition will help Salesforce.com deliver the same integrated experience to the enterprise, he said.

Dimdim offers both free and paid plans on its Website. The paid plan allows for advanced communications features not available in the free version or the open-source "community" version. According to disgruntled Dimdim users on Twitter, account holders were sent a terse five-line e-mail message Jan. 6 informing them of the acquisition and that as a result their accounts would be closed.

Dimdim is not accepting any new customers and will be shutting down the service for existing customers, according to the FAQ on the site. Monthly accounts will expire on March 15, but annual accounts will be available until the subscription plan ends, and no refunds will be issued, the company said. All recordings and documents will be deleted once the subscription expires, according to the FAQ.

Neither Dimdim nor Salesforce.com plans to continue contributing to the open-source project, according to the FAQ.

At least one company, Fuze Meeting, took to Twitter to console the unhappy Dimdim users lamenting the loss of a reliable and free Web conference tool and encouraging them to check out Fuze Meeting's alternative service.

Salesforce.com acquired six companies in 2010: Jigsaw, Sitemaster, Activa, Live Chat, Heroku and Etacts. It closed the $212 million Heroku acquisition earlier this week. These deals reflect the efforts of Salesforce.com, best known for its core customer relationship management software, to expand a portfolio of business applications and services.

With Heroku, Salesforce.com can offer programming tools for applications on the cloud. Salesforce.com also recently unveiled Database.com, which gives customers access to its platform's underlying database infrastructure.

Dimdim has offices in Lowell, Mass., and Hyderabad, India. 

 


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