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Salesforce buys into API economy with $6bn Mulesoft deal

Cloud CRM giant’s acquisition will give it a step up in the API management space, enabling internal users and external partners to connect to applications

Salesforce has agreed to buy application programming interfaces (API) management company MuleSoft for approximately $6.5bn.

The acquisition is set to bolster the company’s position as a leader in digitisation by enabling its customers to participate in the so-called API-economy.

This is where businesses open up interfaces to their systems to encourage internal users, business partners and third-party developers to extend their services.

“Every digital transformation starts and ends with the customer,” said Marc Benioff, chairperson and CEO of Salesforce. “Together, Salesforce and MuleSoft will enable customers to connect all of the information throughout their enterprise across all public and private clouds and data sources, radically enhancing innovation. I am thrilled to welcome MuleSoft to the Salesforce Ohana.”

Mulesoft’s vision is of application networks, where more value is increased by the greater the number of connections.

It is a concept originally coined by engineer, entrepreneur and inventor Bob Metcalfe, who said the value of a network grows as the number of Ethernet cards increases. The concept also works for applications, according to Mulesoft.

Rather than build a large-scale reusable services infrastructure, Mulesoft sees APIs as a way for businesses to enable others to develop connections to their applications as and when they are needed, with these connections creating building blocks.

“With the full power of Salesforce behind us, we have a tremendous opportunity to realise our vision of the application network even faster and at scale,” said Greg Schott, MuleSoft chairperson and CEO.

“Together, Salesforce and MuleSoft will accelerate our customers’ digital transformations enabling them to unlock their data across any application or endpoint,” he added.

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MuleSoft’s technology uses API-management to open up internal APIs in a business, creating an application network that connects enterprise apps, data and devices, across any cloud and on-premise. It has more than 1,200 customers, including Coca-Cola, Barclays, Unilever and Mount Sinai.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of Salesforce’s fiscal year 2019, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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