Salesforce discloses details of machine learning investments

The CRM giant sees AI as the next major trend that will grow its business and enhance the customer experience.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Salesforce late last week disclosed the details of some recent acquisitions in machine learning, shedding some light on the commitment that the CRM giant is making to strengthen its AI capabilities.

The company spent $32.8 million on the AI startup MetaMind in April, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure form. As Business Insider notes, the disclosure notes that $31.2 million of its investment was recorded as goodwill -- the amount in excess of the company's fair market value.

Meanwhile, Salesforce disclosed that it spent another $41.6 million on another two companies last quarter, which includes the machine learning startup PredictionIO.

The acquisitions last quarter followed several other investments that Salesforce has made in machine learning, like its purchases of MinHash and TempoAI. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during the company's most recent earnings call that AI "the next major trend for Salesforce and our industry that will drive tremendous growth."

Back in November, Benioff stressed that the company isn't aiming to go all in on one particular technology but to instead focus on using various technologies to help its customers create the best possible customer experience. Even so, it's clear that Salesforce expects AI to be an integral part of an enhanced customer experience.

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