Yesterday, I told you I'd post an update if I heard from salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM ) CEO Marc Benioff about the similarities between Yammer and his company's own enterprise social network, Chatter.
He didn't disappoint. Here's what Benioff had to say, verbatim save for minor grammatical and spelling changes:
About Chatter: "salesforce Chatter and Chatter.com are our strategic directions for our new collaboration offerings. They are deeply integrated into salesforce's core offerings --Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Force.com, and Database.com platforms -- so that as transactions happen in your enterprise they show up in real time in Chatter. It's not a bolt-on; it's a core part of our services ... it has to be, to be integrated with our customers' information and databases. For example, when a deal changes, a customer service inquiry occurs, a PowerPoint is customized, a customer comes to your website, a lead matures, a dashboard changes, or even if your employees are talking to each other, it's all in your feed. It's amazing; I use it constantly to run my business."
About Yammer: "The problem with other Facebook [and] Twitter-like services is that they are just standalone feeds. There is no integrated customer and corporate transaction data. That's why over 60,000 salesforce customers of are already using Chatter as their new corporate collaboration platform. These are active paying networks -- in use, not trials. That's 5-10 [times] more than any other Facebook [and] Twitter-like service."
I'm fascinated by how Benioff positions Chatter, as if it were an alternative to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) SharePoint services or Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL ) Collaboration Suite. For these salesforce.com rivals, hooking customers on the ability to share documents, data, and project information helps to generate a long tail of upgrades and service fees. Benioff is apparently seeking the cloud equivalent of this same dynamic: Get users hooked on Chatter, and then upsell new user licenses for the rest of salesforce.com's various "platforms."
Can the strategy work? I think so, but I've already had my say. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to explain your thinking. You can also rate salesforce.com in Motley Fool CAPS.
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