launches Salesforce1 integration platform

New 'social, mobile, and cloud customer platform' is designed for building next-generation social and mobile apps has unveiled Salesforce1, a new platform that unifies many of the disparate pieces across its empire via a platform designed to allow the creation of social and mobile apps. The company describes Salesforce1 as a way to harness "the Internet of customers," an obvious riff on the "Internet of things."

Salesforce1 is meant to allow the rapid creation of apps that can work across Salesforce's sales, service, and marketing apps, as well as on top of its, Heroku, and ExactTarget Fuel platforms, all at the same time. Salesforce1 is a free, automatic upgrade for existing Salesforce customers.

Salesforce1 is made possible through a new set of APIs and mobile-app creation tools, including AppExchange, an app store for Salesforce1-connected apps, where third-party software vendors can sell their creations. Dropbox, Evernote, and LinkedIn have signed on to add apps to AppExchange. (Apps can also be distributed privately within an organization through AppExchange.)

However, details about the API set are vague. The company claims existing apps can be made "mobile, social, and future-proof" this way, including all existing Visualforce pages and custom actions.

Salesforce has been shaking up its business throughout 2013, most likely in preparation for Salesforce1. It's been losing market share to newly revived competition from Microsoft (via Microsoft Dynamics), one-time Google Docs challenger Zoho, and open source CRM creator SugarCRM, the last with a newly revamped user interface. It also decided to integrate connectivity to the many third-party file-storage services via its beta Salesforce Files feature rather than reinvent that particular wheel -- although it seems determined to make a play in the world of single-sign on despite the stiff existing competition.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.