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January 7, 2011

Salesforce snaps up web conferencing firm Dimdim

Is Benioff's firm expanding to tackle Citrix Online and Cisco?

By Steve Evans

Salesforce.com has splashed out $31m on web conferencing outfit Dimdim. The cloud computing firm claims the deal will help it extend its Chatter platform to include real-time communication features.

The acquisition of Dimdim could also potentially take salesforce.com into the online meeting space where it will face the likes of Citrix Online and Cisco WebEx. In December 2010 Citrix Online took out competitor Netviewer, whose Meet platform competes with its GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting.

Dimdim, founded in 2007 and located in Lowell, Massachusetts and India, focuses on presence, messaging and screen sharing. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff said these technologies will help Chatter to emulate Facebook.

"Facebook has fundamentally changed the way we communicate in our personal lives. The acquisition of Dimdim will help salesforce.com deliver to the enterprise the same integrated collaboration and communication experience that made Facebook the world’s most popular Internet site," Benioff said.

Chatter is salesforce.com’s social network for the biz space. It offers a Facebook-style stream of updates, feeds, profiles and comments. It is currently being used by around 60,000 customers which salesforce.com says makes it the company’s most popular product.

DD Ganguly, CEO, Dimdim, said that being acquired by salesforce.com will enable the company to compete on a much wider scale. "From our start, Dimdim has focused on enabling real-time communication in the cloud, with no software," he said. "Salesforce.com gives us the opportunity to apply our expertise and align our vision of real-time, social enterprise software in the cloud – at a scale that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible."

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Dimdim’s service remains operational for existing customers but the site is no longer accepting new registrations.

Salesforce.com has been on somewhat of a spending spree recently. In December it captured Etacts and Heroku to go with its other 2010 acquisitions – Jigsaw, Sitemasher and Activa Live Chat.

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