Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has demonstrated the company’s newfound openness with a strategic alliance with long-term rival Salesforce.com.
In spite of having its own Dynamics CRM suite, Microsoft has formed a strategic partnership with Salesforce, through which the Salesforce apps will be integrated into Office 365.
"We want to be a broad platform provider in this mobile-first, cloud-first world, so partnerships such as those with Salesforce today is very important, mutually beneficial for our customers, and that is the spirit you can expect from us," said Nadella.
He added: "Our customers expect us to work great in a heterogeneous environment. That is why I believe this partnership will last."
Nadella said the partnership with Salesforce would help both companies’ customers to extract more value from their technology. "We want to bring mobile first to our customers. We are working with Salesforce to empower people to use Office 365 and Salesforce together, such as PowerBI for Office."
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Marc Benioff, CEO at Salesforce.com said: "Our native Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone will give our users the power to run their businesses from their Windows Phones."
In the past, Benioff has ridiculed Microsoft’s approach to cloud computing. But under Nadella’s leadership, he said that the time was right to partner with the company's long-term rival.
In spite of much of its back-end infrastructure being powered by Oracle, Benioff said Salesforce will use Microsoft SQL database with its ExactTarget marketing platform. "Salesforce is more committed to using SQL Server today than ever. I’ve always wanted to have a closer relationship with Microsoft and now we do."
Benioff plans to expand the company's use of Microsoft technologies. He said: "We are increasing our investment and resources on SQL Server and Salesforce, and we will use Microsoft Azure for ExactTarget development and testing. We will also research using Azure in other areas of the business."
Benioff said: "I believe relationships are eternal and technologies are temporal." Through the $2.5bn acquisition of cloud marketing platform ExactTarget, which is powered by SQL Server, Salesforce became a major Microsoft customer, Benioff said.
"When we acquired ExactTarget, we acquired a stronger relationship with Microsoft and when Satya became [its] CEO, that gave us the opportunity to have an even stronger relationship with Microsoft."
He said Salesforce was committed to integrating its cloud apps with Microsoft’s core strategy around Office 365. "ExactTarget is embedded within Office 365. Its JourneyBuilder capability provide users the opportunity to move through an Office 365 workflow," Benioff said.