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Salesforce gains mobile launch pad with Microsoft partnership


Salesforce.com will be bringing its cloud-based CRM service to Windows Phone and more closely integrating it with Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365 service as the two software firms announced a partnership.

It will see Salesforce launch its mobile Salesforce1 app on the Windows Phone 8.1 platform, giving access to its cloud platform to those users through a native interface for the first time. There will also be new Salesforce for Office 365 integration, allowing Salesforce users to access, share, and edit Office 365 content without leaving the platform. There will also be a Salesforce App for Outlook and Salesforce data will be connected to Microsoft’s Excel and Power BI tools.

The chief executives from both companies held a conference call with media last week to discuss the partnership. Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s recently hired CEO, took questions from analysts and journalists.

“We want to help customers compete in a new world today, a world of mobile, a world of cloud computing,” Benioff said on the conference call. “This is about connecting the world’s most widely used sales platform, Salesforce, with the world’s most used productivity tools with Microsoft.”

Beyond integrating software, Salesforce will become a customer of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. It will also be making use of Microsoft’s SQL database.

“Customers need and they want us to work together. They need this and they need this badly,” Benioff said. “Our new native Salesforce 1 app on Windows Phone is going to give our users the power to run their business from their phone.”

Microsoft Corp., in turn, will become a customer of the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

“We will empower people to use Office 365 and Salesforce together,” Nadella says. “We’re bringing the leading CRM to Microsoft devices – mobile phones, tablets and PCs … this partnership is about helping customers in extracting more value from our technology,” he said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

As one more act of an alliance forged, Benioff says he’ll be using a Windows Phone.

“Relationships are eternal and it’s technology itself that’s temporal,” Benioff says. “Today we’re announcing a very important interchange between our technologies. When we acquired ExactTarget, we acquired a stronger relationship with Microsoft… We are committing to integrating Salesforce more closely with Microsoft’s strategy, which is Office 365.”