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Traded as NYSECRM
S&P 500 Component
Industry Software
Founded 1999; 16 years ago (1999)
Founder Marc Benioff
Parker Harris
Headquarters The Landmark
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Key people
Marc Benioff
(Chairman & CEO)
Parker Harris
(Exec. VP of Technology)
Products Sales Cloud
Service Cloud
Marketing Cloud
Services Cloud computing
Social enterprise solutions
  • Increase US$ 5.373 billion (FY15) [1]
  • Increase US$ 4.071003 billion (FY14) [2]
  • Increase US$ -0.145 billion (FY15) [1]
  • Decrease US$ -0.286074 billion (FY14) [2]
  • Decrease US$ -0.262 billion (FY15) [1]
  • Decrease US$ -0.232175 billion (FY14) [2]
Total assets
  • Increase US$ 10.692 billion (FY15) [1]
  • Increase US$ 9.15293 billion (FY14) [3]
Total equity
  • Increase US$ 3.975 billion (FY15) [1]
  • Increase US$ 3.03851 billion (FY14) [3]
Number of employees
16,227 (Jan 31, 2015) [1]
Footnotes / references
As of April 2013.[4][5] (stylized as salesƒorce) is a cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Though its revenue comes from a customer relationship management (CRM) product, Salesforce also tries capitalizing on commercial applications of social networking through acquisition. As of 2015, it is one of the most highly valued American cloud computing companies with a market capitalization of $50 billion,[6] although the company has never turned a GAAP profit since its inception in 1999.[citation needed]

It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol CRM and is a constituent of the S&P 500 index.


The company was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez as a company specializing in software as a service (SaaS).[7] Harris, Moellenhoff and Dominguez, three software developers previously at consulting firm Left Coast Software, were introduced to Benioff through friend and former Oracle colleague Bobby Yazdani.[8] Harris and team wrote the initial sales automation software, which launched to its first customers in the fall of 1999.[9]

In June 2004, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol CRM, raising US$110 million.[10] Early investors include Larry Ellison, Halsey Minor, Stewart Henderson, Mark Iscaro, and Igor Sill of Geneva Venture Partners, as well as Nancy Pelosi.

In July 2012, Salesforce applied to trademark the term "Social enterprise" in the US, EU and Jamaica where the term was in widespread use to describe businesses with a primarily social purpose. This was successfully challenged by a campaign called #notinourname which was launched by Social Enterprise UK resulting in withdrawing their trademark application and agreeing not to use the term in their future marketing.[11][better source needed]

In October 2014, Salesforce announced the development of its the Customer Success Platform to tie together Salesforce's services, including sales, service, marketing, analytics, community, and mobile apps.[12]

In September 2015 Salesforce has been integrated with one of the leading Learning Management Systems, TalentLMS. The LMS gets the ability to automatically import Salesforce users, which are then given the same access to the eLearning capabilities of the platform as any user created in the usual way.

Services[edit]'s customer relationship management (CRM) service is broken down into several broad categories: Sales Cloud,[13] Service Cloud,[14] Data Cloud[15] (including Jigsaw), Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud[16] (including Chatter), Analytics Cloud,[17] App Cloud, and IoT with over 100,000 customers.[18][edit] is the primary enterprise offering within the Salesforce1 Platform, and provides companies with an interface for case management and task management, and a system for automatically routing and escalating important events. The Salesforce customer portal provides customers the ability to track their own cases, includes a social networking plug-in that enables the user to join the conversation about their company on social networking websites, provides analytical tools and other services including email alert, chat, Google search, and access to customers' entitlement and contracts.[19][edit] is a platform as a service (PaaS) that allows developers to create multitenant add-on applications that integrate into the main application.[20] applications are hosted on's infrastructure.[21] applications are built using Apex (a proprietary Java-like programming language for and Visualforce (an XML[22] syntax typically used to generate HTML). The platform receives three complete releases a year. As the platform is provided as a service to its developers, every single development instance also receives all these updates.

In the Spring 2015 release a new framework for building user interfaces, lightning components, was introduced in beta.[23] Lightning components are built using the open-source Aura Framework[24] but with support for Apex as the server-side language instead of Aura's Javascript dependency. This has been described as an alternative to, not necessarily a replacement for, Visualforce pages.[25]

According to a September, 2009 Gartner Group report,[26] had over 1,000 customer accounts. As of 2013, the platform has 1.4 million registered developers.[27]


Salesforce1 (pronounced as salesforce one) is salesforce's mobile application for Android and iOS.[28][edit], previously Rypple, is a social performance management platform that helps managers and employees improve work performance through continuous coaching, real-time feedback, and recognition.[29] It is marketed as a solution for sales performance, customer service, marketing, and as a service that can be employed by human resource departments.

History[edit], then known as "Rypple", was founded by Daniel Debow and David Stein, who wanted to create a simple way of asking for feedback anonymously at work.[30] The company was formed in May 2008 and their client list included Mozilla, Facebook, LinkedIn and the Gilt Groupe. Rypple "'reverses the onus on the demand for more feedback' by getting employees to build and manage their own coaching networks".[31]

In September 2011, Rypple announced that they had hired Bohdan Zabawskyj as its Chief Technology Officer.[32]

In 2011, Rypple developed a more formalized management methodology called OKR ("Objectives and Key Results") for Spotify.[33] Rypple also partnered with Facebook to create "Loops", short for "feedback loops", which gathers feedback from co-workers, "thank you's", progress against goals, and coaching from supervisors into one channel for a "rich, robust, continuous performance review".[34]

In December 2011, announced that they would acquire Rypple. The transaction was completed in 2012 and Rypple was rebranded as in September 2012.[35][edit], previously known as Jigsaw, is a cloud-based automated system for acquiring and managing CRM records within a user's account.[36] is also an online business directory of companies and business professionals that is built, maintained and accessed by a worldwide community of over a million subscribers.[37] A large database allows members to exchange and share the business information of more than 29 million contacts from over 4 million companies. This information consists of what is commonly found on a business card. utilizes a user-generated database that's continually updated by its members.'s contacts act as a virtual business card, offering name, title, postal and email addresses and direct-dial phone numbers for individual contacts.[edit], previously known as Assistly, is a cloud-based helpdesk system for interacting with customers and solving customer issues.[38] includes the following features:

  • Multi-channel capabilities for handling customer requests (portal/knowledgebase, chat, email, Twitter, callback)
  • An agent-to-customer communication interface, available as web application and mobile app[38]
  • A unified support queue combined with flexible and extensible business rules
  • An administrative interface to easily configure the system
  • Rich analytics[edit] was a cloud-based task management system for small groups and businesses, introduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2014.[39][40][41] Salesforce did not offer any reason for shutting down the service, however it provided an Export tool to save data entered within the interface. The domain was sold to a startup in 2014.[42][edit] is a portal to the Salesforce Lightning App Builder, a technology that allows for rapid application development of cloud-based applications.

Salesforce Ideas[edit]

Salesforce Ideas is a suggestion management systems, based on Dell IdeaStorm, that enables registered users to add, promote, demote and comment on ideas. Each idea is represented as an article, and such articles are updated by Salesforce to indicate when an idea is implemented.


Launched in 2005, the Salesforce AppExchange is an online application marketplace for third-party applications that run on the platform. Applications are available for free, as well as yearly or monthly subscription models. Applications available range from integrations with Sharepoint to mobile approval management.[43] As of February 2015, it features 2,658 applications which have driven a total of over 2.8 million installs.[44]


Salesforce users can configure their CRM application. In the system, there are tabs such as "Contacts", "Reports", and "Accounts". Each tab contains associated information. Configuration can be done on each tab by adding user-defined custom fields.[45]

Configuration can also be done at the "platform" level by adding configured applications to a Salesforce instance, that is adding sets of customized / novel tabs for specific vertical- or function-level (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) features.

Web services[edit]

In addition to the web interface, offers a SOAP/REST Web service API that enables integration with other systems....

Sales Performance Accelerator[edit] launched a new product called Sales Performance Accelerator in July 2013. It combines the CRM with the performance management application as well as customer lead information from[46]



Apex is a proprietary programming language provided by the platform to developers similar to Java. It is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language, following a dot-notation and curly-brackets syntax. Apex can be used to execute programmed functions during most processes on the platform including custom buttons and links, event handlers on record creation, updates or deletions and via the custom controllers of Visualforce pages.

Due to the multitenant nature of the platform the language has strictly imposed governor limitations to guard against any code monopolizing shared resources. Salesforce have provided a series of asynchronous processing methods for Apex to allow developers to produce longer running and more complex Apex code.[47]


Visualforce is the view control technology on the platform. It is an open/close tag based library with structure and markup very similar to HTML. Visualforce can be used to create entire custom pages inside a Salesforce organisation in conjunction with many other front end technologies, such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. One of the key benefits of Visualforce is tight coupling to native features of the platform, such as controller methods and data access, that would not typically be available to other front end technologies.


In 2014, Salesforce made public the backend of its platform, called Lightning.[48] This component based framework is what the Salesforce1 mobile app is built on and customers are now able to build on it as well. Salesforce built on this framework in 2015 by releasing the Lightning Design System,[49] an HTML style framework with default CSS styling built in. This framework allows customers to build their own components to either use in their internal instances and/or sell on the AppExchange.

One of the new tools released is known as the Salesforce Lightning App Builder for rapid application development of responsive web interfaces. This interface allows for different screens to be put together based on Lightning components. This can be used as layouts for records or specific applications.


A discussion panel at Salesforce's Customer Company Tour event that focused on customer relationship management is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional headquarters in Morges, Switzerland (covering Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Singapore), India (covering Asia Pacific minus Japan), and Tokyo (covering Japan). Other major offices are in Toronto, Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Dublin, Hyderabad, San Mateo, California and Hillsboro, Oregon.[50] has its services translated into 16[51] different languages and as of July 31, 2011, had 104,000[52] customers and over 2.1 million subscribers.[53]

Standard & Poor's included, at the same time as Fastenal, into the S&P 500 index in September 2008, following the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their removal from the index.[54]

Venture capital fund[edit]

The company announced in September 2014 that it had set up a venture capital arm to fund start-ups creating apps primarily for mobile phones.[55]

IT infrastructure[edit] migrated to Dell servers with AMD processors running Linux from Sun Fire E25K servers with SPARC processors running Solaris in 2008.[56] The company uses the Momentum platform from Message Systems to allow its customers to send large amounts of email without encountering deliverability problems.[57]

In 2012, announced plans to build a data center in the UK to handle European citizens' personal data.[58]

In 2013, and Oracle announced a 9-year partnership in which will use Oracle Linux, Oracle Exadata, Oracle Database, and the Java platform to power's applications and SaaS platform.[59] (Salesforce Foundation)[edit] (formerly known as the Salesforce Foundation)[60] is the philanthropic arm of donates 1% of the company's resources (defined as profit, equity, and employee time) to support organizations that are working to "make the world a better place".[61] It was officially launched at an event featuring former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in 2000, less than a year after the company’s formation.[62] Salesforce provides a full-featured ten-seat user license available to nearly all United States 501c3 non-profit organizations or overseas equivalents.[63] Additional licenses are deeply discounted for public interest groups.[63] As of March 2014, supports 20,000+ higher education and non-profit customers, and has donated $53+ million in grants. In addition, as of July 2015, Salesforce employees have collectively donated more than 1,000,000 hours in volunteer labour to thousands of charitable organizations worldwide.[64]

In addition to providing discounted software to non-profits, also makes Salesforce products available to qualified non-profit / not-for-profit institutions of higher education.[65] The Salesforce Foundation remains a 501(c)(3), now focused on disaster relief.[60]


Salesforce for Outlook[edit] provide an add-in for Microsoft Outlook called Salesforce for Outlook (SFO).[66] This tool provides an interface for adding both incoming and outgoing emails to the Salesforce system. In 2014 the company issued v2.5 which dropped support for non-Microsoft Exchange Server based email systems. This left the product unusable for customers with non-Microsoft systems such as Post Office Protocol and GMail.[67] This led to a ferocious online discussion with some users suggesting this was due to a strategic relationship with Microsoft.[68][edit]

In November 2007, a successful phishing attack on a employee compromised contact information on a number of customers, which was then used to send highly targeted phishing emails.[69][70][71] The phishing breach was cited as an example of why the CRM industry needs greater security for users against such threats as spam.[72][edit]

Several criticisms of's integrated development environment and developer friendliness have been made,[citation needed] including lack of support for multiple developers, revision control, speed problems with developing on the cloud, and a failure to properly separate from[edit]

While the crowd-sourced method of building business contacts[73] has proven popular with recruiters, marketers and sales professionals, it has also raised questions of privacy as most of the site’s database is entered without permission from the person being listed. does, however, make it easy to remove business information on request as noted in December 2009 by TechCrunch.[74] However, recipients of these messages regard it as spam and at least one complaint about receiving more spam after attempting to remove one's address have been noted.[75]


The following is a list of acquisitions by

  • Sendia (April 2006) – now Salesforce Classic
  • Kieden (August 2006) – now Salesforce for Google AdWords
  • Kenlet (January 2007) – original product CrispyNews used at Salesforce IdeaExchange and Dell IdeaStorm – now relaunched as Salesforce Ideas
  • Koral (March 2007) – now Salesforce Content
  • Instranet (August 2008) for $31.5 million – now re-branded to Salesforce Knowledge
  • GroupSwim (December 2009) – now part of Salesforce Chatter[76]
  • Informavores (December 2009)[77] – now re-branded to Visual Workflow
  • Jigsaw Data Corp. (April 2010),[78] – now known as
  • Sitemasher (June 2010) – now known as
  • Navajo Security (August 2011)[79]
  • Activa Live Chat (September 2010) – now known as Salesforce Live Agent[80]
  • Heroku (December 2010)[81]
  • Etacts (December 2010)[82]
  • Dimdim (January 2011)[83]
  • Manymoon (February 2011) – now known as[84]
  • Radian6 (March 2011) for $340M [85]
  • Assistly (September 21, 2011) – now known as[86]
  • Model Metrics (November 2011)[87]
  • Rypple (December 2011)[88] – now known as
  • Stypi (May 2012)[89]
  • Buddy Media (May 2012) for US$689 million[90][91]
  • ChoicePass (June 2012)[92]
  • Thinkfuse (June 2012)[93]
  • BlueTail (July 2012) – now part of[94]
  • GoInstant (July 2012) for US$70 million[95]
  • Prior Knowledge (December 2012)[96]
  • EntropySoft (February 2013) for an undisclosed sum. The French firm was founded in 2005 and sold software to improve interoperability between big-name ECM systems, used to manage unstructured data, such as documents and email, often required for compliance or e-discovery.
  • (May 2013) for US$12 million[97]
  • ExactTarget (announced June 4, 2013) for US$2.5 billion[98]
  • EdgeSpring (June 7, 2013) - now part of the Analytics Cloud[99]
  • RelateIQ (July 10, 2014) for US$390 million - now known as SalesforceIQ[100]
  • Toopher (April 1, 2015)[101]
  • Tempo (app) (May 29, 2015) - now part of SalesforceIQ[102]
  • AKTA (September 2015) - for an undisclosed sum.[103]


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External links[edit]