Announcing a strategic partnership, and then actually working in unison to provide mutual customers with new solutions doesn't always come to fruition. While the notion of two industry leaders combining forces always looks good on paper, too often, once the hoopla dies down, little, if nothing tangible, comes from the deal. So when news broke in May that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) had inked a deal to form a strategic partnership, some investors may have taken a wait-and-see attitude, and rightfully so.
As it turns out, the wait could prove to be well worth it. The two tech leaders recently announced a few specifics of their joint efforts at Dreamforce, billed as the world's largest software conference. And unlike some strategic partnerships, it's clear engineers from both sides have been working feverishly to bring new, and better, solutions to their respective customers.
Nadella described Salesforce.com's new Microsoft-inspired solutions by saying, "Our focus is on empowering every individual and organization on the planet [to] be more productive – and that's exactly what this partnership will fuel." The "fuel" Nadella is referring to is Salesforce.com's new Salesforce1 for Windows, Salesforce for Office, Power BI, or Business Intelligence, for Office 365, along with integrating Excel into its enterprise platform.
Just as important as incorporating Microsoft's multiple software solutions into its customer's CRM, is Salesforce.com's new, expanded offerings will also be mobile-ready, and not just on Windows 8.1 operating system. Salesforce1 is also compatible with iOS and Android mobile OS devices, meaning virtually every person with a smartphone or tablet, let alone a desktop computer, will have access to the strategic partnership's new services. That's a critical component of the partnership, particularly with the proliferation of bring-your-own-devices, or BYOD, in the workplace.
Most of the new offerings will be available to customers in the first half of next year, while some, including the Salesforce1 app for Windows 8.1, will roll out to the masses the second half of 2015. Clearly, May's announcement of the strategic partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce.com was a lot more than mere public relations: both sides have been awfully busy making it a reality.
An ideal match
As Microsoft fans are well aware, some of the first word's uttered by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella upon being named head honcho in February of this year was his "mobile-first, cloud-first" mantra. Since then, Microsoft has focused much of its efforts in fulfilling Nadella's vision, and the strategic partnership with Salesforce.com furthers that objective.
Salesforce.com has been operating in the cloud since before there was a "cloud." Salesforce.com's hosted, customer relationship management tool, or CRM, was introduced in 1999 by co-founder and current CEO Marc Benioff. At the time, Benioff's vision of an off-site, enterprise-wide CRM was nothing short of revolutionary, and here we are 15 years later with tech leaders like Microsoft changing their entire business model to focus on cloud computing.
While Salesforce.com may arguably be the impetus for what cloud technology is today, let alone the almost unlimited potential of what it will become in the future, it's becoming clear the race will be won by those that are able to provide an end-to-end suite of solutions. Already, cloud hosting is nothing more than a commodity; simply a means of getting a new customer in the proverbial door. Nadella knows this, as does Benioff, which is one of the reasons this new strategic partnership is so compelling.
Final Foolish thoughts
Unlike many announced strategic partnerships, Microsoft and Salesforce.com have clearly worked to make something significant of it. Based on what the two cloud leaders shared at Dreamforce, the combination of the world's most popular CRM and the leading software provider on the planet could truly turn out to be a win-win-win situation.
Microsoft wins by gaining an introduction of its cloud-based software services to a bevy of prospective new customers. Salesforce.com wins by expanding its suite of cloud solutions so it's now able to offer its customers a true, end-to-end product line-up. And investors of both Microsoft and Salesforce.com win, as each just took a step closer to becoming leaders in one of the fastest growing industries on the planet.
Tim Brugger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.