Salesforce.com Do.com Taps Gmail to Tackle Microsoft

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-11-10
 
 
 

Salesforce.com (NASDAQ:CRM) is making Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Gmail and Google Docs applications the centerpiece for a new task management and collaboration application, called Do.com.

Now in limited beta testing, Do.com offers group planning helping organize workflows with their contacts around tasks in what Salesforce.com Senior Vice President Sean Whiteley told ReadWriteWeb is a "prosumer application" used for anything from grocery lists and social event planning to small project management. See screenshots here.

To lower the barrier to entry, Do.com users may invite colleagues, friends and family to tasks regardless of whether those contacts are Do.com users. Though Do.com is accessible as a Web app through all browsers, it's also available as an iOS mobile app for iPhone and iPad with a Google Android app coming later.

Written in HTML5 via Salesforce.com's Heroku platform, Do.com is a fresh take on Manymoon, the project management application Salesforce.com acquired last February to fortify its enterprise cloud collaboration platform.

Manymoon, a popular app from Google's App Marketplace, integrated with Google Apps to let knowledge workers do such things as attach Google Docs to tasks, projects and events; add project information to shared Google Calendars; and implement a gadget for collaborative task management in Google Sites.

Some of those same utilities have been ported over to Do.com, Whiteley told ReadWriteWeb. The product, which next year will be available as a paid app with premium features, certainly appears aimed at attacking Microsoft Project 2010 or even SharePoint to a degree.

Beagle Research analyst Denis Pombriant said Do.com is an interesting tool for keeping all the balls in the air in a typical busy work and personal life. 

"It makes sense especially for a busy person who works in and outside of a formal office -- i.e. on the road, etc.  It is not finished but the company appears to be poised to continue providing resources to make it a hit," Pombriant said. "It could be core to the business if the social phenomenon continues to roll along."

While Do.com appears to compete with project management apps such as Base Camp or Microsoft Project, Pombriant said Salesforce is apparently intent on inventing new categories and new businesses, not unlike what Microsoft did successfully in the 1980s and '90s.  

Time will tell if Do.com will catch on, as Pombriant noted that with Microsoft, no single product was complete or had all of the resources it needed to be a hit.  

"The strategy was to see if there was market uptake and if there was interest, resources would be allocated to complete the product and take over the niche," Pombriant said. "This worked for Windows (recall it was Windows 3.0 that was the hit) and for Office.  Other products languished."

Still, Do.com is another way for Salesforce.com to leverage its own assets, as well as that of cloud partner Google, to attack the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant.

 
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