After a period of some speculation, Google and Salesforce.com said Tuesday they have reached an agreement to collaborate
on several services aimed at small businesses. As a part of the agreement, the online software pioneer Salesforce will introduce a version of its customer relationship management (CRM) software that will allow its corporate customers to distribute their ads through Google, to attract even more business into the Web's largest advertising network.
The new software, called Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, will also include integration with other Google products such as e-mail, mapping and word-processing apps in an effort to continue pushing Google’s internet-based applications and to detach businesses from Microsoft's Office software. Salesforce also competes directly with Microsoft in the customer relationship management arena.
Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff would not say whether the deal is exclusive, or if Salesforce could enter similar partnerships with Google competitors Yahoo or Microsoft. But he hinted that it is. "We're very fortunate to have a strong relationship with Google," he said. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Google is my best friend."
The product will sell for an introductory price of $600 for five users at one company for one year, and includes $50-per-year Google AdWords credit. The price will later increase to $1,200.