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Saturday, September 10, 2005

An eBay Like Marketplace For Business Software

Marc Benioff’s Multiforce, is positioned as the operating system for the Internet throughwhich third party applications can be created and these can be used over the Web like Salesforce's own software. In essence, he turned Salesforce.com into a platform for others to build upon. He is now planning AppExchange, which he envisions as an online marketplace where software makers and customers can swap and sell applications they develop. Companies interested in new software capabilities can search through a menu of applications. When they find something they're interested in, they can read reviews by others, try it out for free, and buy it with a few clicks. The applications on AppExchange, however, can be any kind of business software. And just like Salesforce's products, they'll be accessible to any subscriber with a Web browser and Internet access. He believes that creating an open marketplace for on-demand software will help cause the decline of the big, complex, and expensive corporate applications sold by the likes of SAP and Oracle Corp. (I do not know see the connect anyway). The marketplace makes it possible for the company to offer a large array of software that it could never afford to build by itself. Salesforce.com which won't receive any fees when companies buy applications on AppExchange, expects the marketplace to help expand its customer roster and revenues. I agree with the observation that Marc is trying to do many things and faces the difficulty in being an applications company and a platform company together. For Salesforce.com's smaller customers, AppExchange holds some of the attraction of Linux and other open-source software. Once they write a Salesforce.com add-on for their own use, they can simply press a button to make it available to others - with their data removed. To me add-ons and information about add-ons are generally made known traditionally as well and in enterprise software sector, add-ons can’t be tried and found to be fit – its impossible to check and confirm fitment and buy based on trials –if it is a serious application. Looks like another gimmickry being packaged.

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