Salesforce will extend "Chatter" beyond the enterprise

Salesforce says that its social collaboration tool, "Chatter" is doing well and there are plans to extend its reach...

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, said that there are plans to extend the Chatter social collaboration tool beyond the enterprise and include business partners and others.

He did not say when this capability would be ready but more details are expected at the company's Dreamforce conference in early December.

"Right now you can add people from outside of the organization but it's not that easy, you have to give them a special ID. We will make it easier to extend Chatter beyond the organization, to business partners, customers and others," said Mr Benioff.

He said that Chatter has been very well received by Salesforce customers. Steve Gillmore, Salesforce's chief blogger, said that Chatter has been used internally in conjunction with the broadcast of a high-level management meeting.

"Chatter provides a very intimate experience and one that is very comfortable. It's different from the use of Facebook and Twitter because everyone is one the same page," said Mr. Gillmore.

Several large customers spoke about the use of Chatter. Rajiv Tibrewala, Senior Manager in Enterprise & Portals at McAfee, the computer security firm, said, "It takes some courage from the leadership of the company because employees do ask some tough questions but it's great to get those questions out into the open."

Salesforce held its press conference outside of the Oracle OpenWorld user conference in San Francisco. Larry Ellison, an investor in Salesforce has begun to talk about cloud computing but Mr. Benioff said that Mr. Ellison doesn't understand the cloud.

"Larry thinks that the cloud means buying a large computer, or running virtualization software. The cloud is not a box, and virtualization software is simply virtualization software, it is not the cloud. We offer services that don't require a starting price of $1 million, that you can try and test yourself, and that offer security and performance straight away. Our services are optimized from the very start."

He said that Salesforce is doing well and expanding into overseas markets. The company will soon open a data center in Japan followed by one in London.

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