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May 30, 2014

Salesforce muscles in on SAP territory with Microsoft partnership

Battle between enterprise software rivals heats up over mobile.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Salesforce are muscling in on the territory of rivals SAP as they partner with Microsoft to bring customer relationship management (CRM) software to mobile.

Following on from the launch of their mobile app earlier this month on Android and iPhone, Salesforce will extend their enterprise software to Windows phones by 2015, with Salesforce customers also given access Microsoft’s office suite.

Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft, said: "Working together we’ll deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows, so our customers can do more."

The move may well be interpreted as an aggressive incursion into an area traditionally dominated by SAP, a German enterprise software firm that has been linked with Microsoft for 20 years.

Currently Windows phones have a market share of 3.5% worldwide, a figure that is expected to rise to 6.4% by 2018, according to numbers released by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

"Today is about putting the customer first," said Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce. "Together with Microsoft, we are building bridges that allow customers to be more productive."

Joining Microsoft only four months ago, Nadella has made it his mission to make Microsoft more cloud friendly, announcing that Office had been made available to iPad customers in his first press conference as chief executive in March.

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Richard Absalom, senior analyst at Ovum, described mobile enterprise applications as a "major trend in 2014" earlier this month, with many enterprise software firms hoping that their customers will be able to run their businesses from their mobiles.

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