Salesforce.com has added a per-login pricing option for consuming less frequently accessed applications built on its Force.com platform.
"As people build a wide variety of apps on the Force.com platform, we have some high usage of some applications, such as recruiting," Ariel Kelman, Salesforce.com senior director of platform product marketing, told me. (Pricing for unlimited application usage of those applications is $50 per user per month.) But many applications, such as vacation request, employee surveys and expense reports, are widely distributed but less frequently used, Kelman explained.
To address that segment more equitably, salesforce.com is charging $5.00 per login, with a maximum of 5 logins per user per month. Through the end of 2008, the metered pricing is set at a promotional price of $0.99 per login.
Kelman said that salesforce.com's "utility" pricing is making it as easy to use applications as buying songs on iTunes. Almost anything your buy online (in the cloud) can be compared to iTunes or Amazon. Several companies offer metered pricing for software services, based on transactions, API calls and other metrics. The per-login pricing for occasional-use applications is a good solution, and the 99 cent per login promo will accelerate the usage and development of applications built on Force.com.
In addition to a new pricing option, salesforce.com continues its leadership in buzzword density per press release, as in this example (italics mine): ...the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service, today announced Force.com Cloud Computing Architecture.
Perhaps the "On Demand" and "No Software" slogans will be subsumed by the Cloud. "Force.com Cloud Computing Architecture offers the most comprehensive set of capabilities to harness cloud computing for the enterprise," CEO Marc Benioff said in the press release. He is expected to expand on the idea during a presentation tomorrow in San Francisco.
In addition to the per login pricing, salesforce.com is debuting in preview form Development-as-a-Service, which provides a more complete set of tools and a new IDE with a metadata API that gives access to the code and databases schema of an application.
Developers can check code in and out of a code control repository, Kelman said, and code sharing allows developers to collaborate on applications in the cloud. In addition, salesforce.com is moving several AppExchange applications to Google Code to foster open source projects. "We can expose the metadata of an application, and via the IDE and collaborative environment we can have open source projects," Kelman said. "It's a catalyst for next set of apps from the developer community."
As another way to spur development for the the Force.com platform, Emergence Capital will announce a $1 million challenge. Developers build and submit applications to the venture capital firm, which will give the entry of its choice $1 million in funding.