This morning I posted about salesforce.com's pre-announcement of its AppStore Checkout and Referral Program for AppExchange developers. I suggested that AppStore Checkout, officially due in December 2007, is in part a test case for a Salesforce commerce engine and questioned why the company needed a year to enable what Amazon, Apple, eBay and many others have provided for years--ordering, distribution, billing, collection, and after-sale services for goods from a single, unified interface.
During the press conference this afternoon in San Francisco, which I listened to via the Webcast from our CNET offices in New York, CEO Marc Benioff may have amended the December 2007 AppStore Checkout release date. It's hard to tell.
"Checkout is not that complicated to build," Benioff said. "Internally, the code will be ready in July for the summer 07 release, but we are only committing to the December date. But, we want to make it available for Dreamforce [salesforce.com's big annual conference, which will take place in September 2007]." Given that the Checkout service is being baked in as a native part of the Salesforce Apex platform, the more lengthy gestation period is a safer bet. But, beating expectations has become a kind of trademark for Benioff and his troops.