The companies, which haven’t exactly been cozy in the past, trotted out their respective CEOs — Satya Nadella and Marc Benioff — to talk about the collaboration, which aims to integrate Salesforce.com’s CRM software with Microsoft Windows, Azure and Office.
Both CEOs trotted out the usual reason for big vendor collaboration — that it was driven by mutual customers who demand better integration. And to be sure many Salesforce.com customers use Excel and Outlook and many Microsoft users also use Salesforce.com. But it also looked a bit like a barter. Microsoft said it would extend its use of ExactTarget for marketing and Salesforce.com will keep using SQL Server for ExactTarget and also will use Azure for testing and development for ExactTarget. Last year, Salesforce acquired ExactTarget — a SQL Server shop from the get go — for $2.5 billion.
The partnership was not a replatforming of Salesforce.com CRM on Azure, which would truly be a huge deal.
Benioff has long poked fun at Microsoft as a legacy software behemoth that lost its way. A few months ago, he said he welcomed Nadella’s ascension as new Microsoft CEO but said the management change was probably five years too late.
Here’s how Microsoft listed the integration points between the companies’ product lines:
- Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. Will enable customers to access Salesforce and run their business from their Windows devices. A preview is planned to be available in fall 2014 with general availability in 2015.
- Salesforce for Office 365. New interoperability between Salesforce and Office 365 will give customers access to the content they need to collaborate, sell, service and market from virtually anywhere. Plans include the ability to:
- Access, share, edit and collaborate on Office content from within Salesforce and on Salesforce1 using Office Mobile, Office for iPad and Office 365.
- Use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online as integrated storage options for Salesforce.
- Use Salesforce and Outlook together with a new Salesforce App for Outlook.
- Connect Salesforce data to Excel and Power BI for Office 365 to visualize information and find new insights.