Microsoft and Salesforce.com have traded lawsuits, barbed ad campaigns and fierce jabs over the years in their competition over the customer-relationship management market.
But today, the two rivals put aside the boxing gloves — at least for now — announcing a partnership that connects Salesforce.com’s apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows.
The partnership entails an app called Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 that will allow customers to access Salesforce from their Windows devices; more interoperability between Salesforce and Office 365, including the ability to edit and collaborate on Office content from within Salesforce and on Salesforce 1; use Salesforce and Outlook together; and connect Salesforce data to Excel and Power BI for Office 365, according to a Microsoft news release.
Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
The two companies have not always been so friendly.
In 2010, Microsoft filed a lawsuit saying Salesforce.com’s customer-relationship management software infringed on some of Microsoft’s patents. Salesforce.com countersued, before the two companies eventually settled.
Microsoft, which has its own Dynamics CRM line of customer-relationship management software, has taken swipes at Salesforce.com, periodically offering customers incentives to switch to Dynamics CRM, while Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has often taken jabs at Microsoft.
The two companies’ CEOs put that aside for today.
“Today is about putting the customer first,” Benioff said in the news release. “Together with Microsoft, we are building bridges that allow customers to be more productive.”
“We are excited to partner with salesforce.com and help customers thrive in a mobile and cloud-first world,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the news release. “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.”
“This is definitely indicative of a new era at Microsoft,” Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC, said in an email. “This is also about interoperability at multiple levels which will help customers of both companies. Supporting Salesforce with Microsoft’s client platforms is strategic win for Microsoft as it pushes its mobility strategy in the enterprise and broadening the access to the Salesforce apps from Microsoft’s platforms and ubiquitous Office apps is a strategic win for Salesforce.”
[Update: The full story, running in the May 30, 2014 edition of The Seattle Times, is here.]