Microsoft and Salesforce agree to play nice

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Microsoft and Salesforce agree to play nice

Compete on CRM, but integrate elsewhere.

Microsoft and Salesforce.com have announced the integration of several functions from each of their products, furthering Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's drive to make the company more cloud friendly.

Nadella and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced they would collaborate on a number of areas, despite the two competing in the area of customer relationship management (CRM) software.

While vague on details, the two companies announced:

  • Integration between Office365, Office for iPad and Office Mobile with Salesforce apps - Salesforce users will be able to access and edit Microsoft Office content such as Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations from within Salesforce apps;
  • Salesforce will also build an app that exposes Salesforce data within Microsoft Outlook;
  • Salesforce's online applications will offer Microsoft's OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online storage as options for storing files;
  • The release of a Salesforce1 CRM app for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1, available in 2015.

The collaboration is the latest sign that Nadella, who became CEO almost four months ago, is intent on forcing Microsoft to work with companies that have a better hold on mobile customers. The new approach, which Nadella calls "mobile first, cloud first," started with the move in March to make Office available on Apple's iPad.

While Salesforce has been a pioneer in cloud software, Microsoft has long been criticised by industry analysts as moving too slowly to the cloud-based, subscription software model favoured by smaller and nimbler enterprises that prefer to pay as they go.

Today's announcement is also a sharp turn for Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, an outspoken former Apple programmer, who has often railed publicly against Microsoft's reliance on installed software. 

With Reuters

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