AppExchange Gains Strength

But could it unseat its competitors? has unleashed a beefed-up edition of its custom application development platform that officials say can run entire enterprises, unseating established legacy human resources, Microsoft SQL Server or internally built applications.

"Will we displace legacy packaged apps? ... We are going to leave that up to the customers," said George Hu, Salesforce.coms senior vice president of applications, in San Francisco. But, he said, "We have a lot of customers using our API for integrating with the legacy systems."

The Unlimited Edition, which the company rolled out March 6, allows customers to add and run an unlimited number of applications, whether they are developed internally, by or by third-party developers, for a monthly fee of $195.

The Unlimited Edition includes all the features of Salesforce.coms Enterprise Edition, the broad suite of the companys on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) applications, along with new services to encourage customers to develop and use custom applications through AppExchange.

AppExchange lets customers build and share applications that extend the Salesforce CRM applications or that automate entirely different business processes, such as finance, HR, legal or IT.

Company officials have been building up AppExchange as an operating platform for what the company calls the "Business Web." The platform comprises Internet-based applications that automate business processes that are distinct from the search, shopping and marketing applications that consumers know from the past decade.

The Unlimited Edition will allow the company to continue this strategy. "Unlimited Edition really gives customers the ability to run their entire enterprise with ... AppExchange," Hu said.

The new edition includes Salesforce Sandbox, a development environment for building and testing AppExchange applications as well as for training users to work with these applications.

The new edition provides 120MB of disk storage capacity per user—a sixfold increase of the storage in the Enterprise Edition—to enable customers to run multiple on-demand applications from The Unlimited Edition also increases the number of customized tables, objects and fields customers can activate in applications.

Forrester Research analyst Liz Herbert said the Unlimited Edition is designed for customers deploying custom applications built on the AppExchange platform that are going over the limits of basic subscriptions. It "should save them money, and it should give them greater flexibility with the amount of custom objects they can create," said Herbert in Cambridge, Mass.

John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...