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Salesforce.com (s CRM) is bulking up its position as a cloud platform for developers by agreeing to snap up Heroku, a Ruby application Platform-as-a-Service for $212 million. The deal, which has been approved by Heroku’s board, will further establish Salesforce as a platform for app developers along with its VMforce enterprise cloud collaboration with VMware.
Founded in 2007 with seed funding from YCombinator, Heroku is a leader in offering a platform for Ruby on Rails, which is increasingly popular for social, collaborative and real-time applications such as Groupon, Hulu, Signals and Twitter. Heroku said it powers more than 105,000 apps with 2,600 added just in the last week alone by developers. Last month, it offered a program called Facebook App Package to allow developers to build Facebook apps on the Heroku platform.
Ruby is popular because it’s easy to use and iterate on, and combined with a platform like Heroku, developers can focus on writing without worrying about the back-end services. Salesforce said the Ruby is the leading language for what it calls Cloud 2 apps and Heroku is built along the same lines as its Force.com platform.
The pick-up of Heroku brings up questions about Salesforce’s deal with VMware (S VMW) to create VMForce, an enterprise cloud for Java applications. With Heroku, Salesforce will be able to offer support for both Ruby and Java app developers.
The purchase validates the momentum behind Ruby and suggests more deals could be in the offing. We reported back in June that VMWare was in talks to buy Engine Yard, a Ruby on Rails cloud provider with $37 million in funding from Amazon (amzn) and others.
In addition to the $212 million in cash, Salesforce will grant shares of restricted stock worth approximately $27 million to Heroku’s employees and will pay about $10 million for unvested Heroku shares. Salesforce said the acquisition will not affect fourth quarter revenue but will reduce non-GAAP earnings per share by approximately $0.12 to $0.13 in the year ending Jan. 31, 2012.
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