Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Any Change for Salesforce.com's Appsexchange?

Salesforce.com recenlt launched its AppExchange platform. This was also commented on by Nick in his Blog. I was however surprised to see him (and other industry watchers) so optimistic about it. Bacisally AppExchange will allow other companies to develop and deploy their open-source(?) Apps on the Salesforce.com proprietary platform. Its a Microsoft approach to software development (you have to use their platfrom), or as Henry Ford would have said if he were alive today (with due apologies to his Model T quote) : "You can run any app here as long as it is only designed for Salesforce.com platform".

Larry Ellison in his keynote at Oracle OpenWorld made a very interesting point - Linux is industrial strength today not because of some radioshack developers working the days and writing code for it in the nights, but because many corporations like IBM, Novell and Oracle have embraced it and extended their intellectual capital to make it enterprise ready. A poor cousin to Linux like Salesforce.com, who is already under pressure from other CRM vendors, and neither has the wherewithal nor the capabilityto match the features the other vendors (SAP, Oracle) are adding daily, has no option but to try leveraging the open source community and gather whatever remanants it can. I doubt they will get anything worthwhile other than the crumbs, with due respect to Nick's post. I personally pooh-pooh their idea and dont have any spare change for them.

1 comment:

Denis Pombriant said...

You make many good points though I prefer to look at the situation differently.
First, applications are not operating systems, there is a big difference in the economics of selling and servicing each and this is not an apples to apples comparison. As long as companies find a need to define their own unique business processes, there will be a need for variability in applications -- something you can't say about OS's for example, and that has a profound effect on the economics.
Second, I believe we're at the beginning of a new cycle of innovation in applications and that we need to judge this innovation on its merits. To judge it in comparison to the older paradigm is to miss the point and potentially miss an opportunity to be involved early. I don't worry about the fact that all the details have not been worked out yet. They will be.
Last, I don't see any way around the fact that applications are still "proprietary" given the elements of a stack that are required to make them work,it is inevitable. The goal, I feel, should be in hiding the complexity from the user. As for the developer/vendor of applications, the proprietary nature of something like appexchange comes down to a business decision of whether to play in that world or not. As a business decision, you have to also look at what you get -- sales and marketing, support infrastructure, or whatever.

Thanks,

Denis