Salesforce.coms AppExchange Brokers Software launches an online clearinghouse for software. Inc. is hosting a virtual software bazaar in hopes of encouraging more businesses to make use of software on demand.

The San Francisco-based CRM (customer relationship management) software company on Tuesday expanded its horizons by launching the AppExchange service, which grants businesses the ability to access hundreds of different business software applications on an as-needed basis.

The AppExchange initially includes about 150 applications ranging from expense tracking software to tools such as Adobe Systems Inc.s Create Adobe PDF Online and Skype Technologies S.A.s calling service. Thus the online repository, which can be accessed by customers as well as other businesses on a trial basis, could represent a move toward broader use of online, hosted software by businesses whose IT departments have traditionally controlled software by deploying set packages of applications.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about growing pains for highlighted endorsements such as those by Adobe and Skype, which will offer a version of its Skype service for AppExchange, allowing businesses to make VOIP (voice over IP) calls to customers.

"The power of joining two disruptive computing forces such as Internet calling and on-demand software creates entirely new opportunities for businesses worldwide," Marc Benioff, Salesforce.coms chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Given its stature as a de-facto standard for document processes, we are excited to have it among the vanguard of AppExchange partners."

Skype for AppExchange will include global outbound one-click voice calling, integrated inbound calling, as well as such features as instant messaging and multi-chat, according to Skype. The companies did not list a price for the service.

Create Adobe PDF Online, which costs $80 per user per year, will allow companies to share files via Adobes PDF format and view them with its free Adobe Reader application.

The AppExchange service was made available on the Web on Tuesday, ahead of Salesforce.coms Winter 06 release conference in San Francisco, at which Benioff was expected to speak.

Participating in AppExchange offers software makers who are looking to increase sales access to Salesforce.coms base of 18,700 customers and 351,000 subscribers, according to the company.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about looking beyond CRM.

Aside from Adobe and Skype, which also lends technology to Skype Tab Opportunity Conference Call, a free application for joining sales contacts and sales teams in joint conference calls, numerous others companies are participating in AppExchange.

Some of them include Business Objects S.A., maker of business intelligence software, and ClairMail Inc., whose ClairAccess allows mobile devices to query enterprise applications, as well as Harte-Hanks Inc.s Trillium Software and Sendia Corp.

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