Force.com for Google App Engine

Salesforce.com made two fantastic announcements today at their CloudForce event in New York. The first is Force.com for Google App Engine (demonstrated on stage by Marc Benioff and our own Narinder Singh using an extension of our work with Harrah's). The second is Force.com Checkout for native apps (Appirio Adoption Accelerator is one of the 19 apps in the pilot). These announcements illustrate two important elements of Salesforce's platform strategy: "Connecting the cloud" and "Go Native." We think Salesforce is uniquely positioned to bring these two concepts together into a powerful platform. Here's what we mean: 

1. Force.com for Google App Engine is a natural extension of Salesforce's strategy to “Connect the Cloud.” We’ve already talked about why we’re so excited about Salesforce’s recent partnership with Amazon and Facebook, and the deepening relationship with Google. If you've been reading this blog or following Appirio's own news over the last year, it's clear we share Salesforce’s vision of “connecting the cloud.” (And we’re flattered that Salesforce has adopted our term so enthusiastically!). Today's integration with Google App Engine takes that idea to the next level-- highly scalable, consumer-focused web applications built on App Engine fully integrated with Force.com.

2. Force.com checkout is a natural extension of Salesforce's strategy to encourage "Native" Apps. Salesforce rightly argues that there’s something unique about applications that run entirely on Force.com. Force.com is a powerful, trusted platform, and there’s a confidence that customers can have in applications that rely on that technology. That’s why Appirio has built dozens of custom applications for our customers entirely on Force.com, offers several 100% native apps, and strives to have all of our products that interact with Salesforce run native functionality.

Here's the power of the Salesforce platform strategy: Salesforce customers can now have the best of both worlds. Salesforce is combining the strengths of multiple, complementary, on-demand platforms, delivered through applications that customers can trust.

Here's why this is so remarkable: there are many types of applications that Salesforce is very good at supporting. There are other applications for Salesforce customers that wouldn't be effective to build entirely on Force.com. Salesforce.com recognizes this, and partners with Google, Amazon, and Facebook to create a "virtual platform" for the entire industry. This is game changing - and should scare the daylights out of the old big four of Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and IBM.

Each of these on-demand platforms have different and complementary strengths:
  • Force.com excels at modeling business processes, workflow and UI
  • Google excels at scalable, consumer-focused applications that extend its strengths in communication, collaboration, search, and advertising
  • Amazon excels at highly scalable low-level computing power and storage
  • Facebook excels at viral applications that leverage a user’s social graph and its community of 120M+ participants
Salesforce knows this--they formed these partnerships to differentiate from the isolation of legacy "platforms." Salesforce customers know this—that’s why they are eager to use applications that bring together the best of multiple platforms. Just look at the number one app on Appexchange (Appirio’s Calendar Sync for Google Apps) as well as 5 of the other top 10 on Appexchange. These solutions draw on the capabilities of the Salesforce, Google, AND Amazon platforms. That’s what customers want and need, and Salesforce is in a unique position to deliver on this promise.

After all, there is still a huge difference between an AppExchange application that largely runs on a server under my desk (of course, not native) and a Force.com application like Appirio Calendar Sync that runs certain intense computations on Amazon's EC2 or Google's App Engine. One is running on a set of trusted platforms, the other is not. There is real value in Salesforce working with partners to build stable connections with trusted on-demand platforms, and recognizing applications that take advantage of these platforms in a way that customers can have confidence in.

Today's announcement of integration between Google App Engine and Force.com enables a new class of applications that are "native" to a community of trusted cloud providers. And at the end of the day this will be one of the key ways Salesforce will distinguish its own on-demand platform from that of Microsoft…. Look for an upcoming blog post on "Microsoft—is it lonely up there in your Azure cloud?”


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