Salesforce next to be certified on Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft and CRM rival Salesforce.com may be poised to announce a deal certifying Salesforce apps to run on the Azure cloud.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Over the past few months, Microsoft has managed to get Oracle and SAP applications certified to run on its Azure cloud.


Next up may be long-time Microsoft rival Salesforce.com, if a Thursday-dated Bloomberg report is on the money. (And I bet it could be.)

Bloomberg claims that Microsoft and Salesforce are "close to an agreement" allowing Azure customers to use Salesforce's CRM programs. This possible deal sounds like it could be similar to the one just inked between Microsoft and SAP to bring a number of SAP's applications to Azure.

Microsoft and SAP announced that deal a few weeks ago, promising a number of SAP's core business apps would be certified to run on Windows Server and Linux virtual machines on Azure by June. On May 28, Microsoft announced the SAP application images were generally available to Azure customers.

As part of the terms of the SAP deal, the two companies also announced they were more tightly integrating SAP applications with Microsoft's business-intelligence and Office/Office 365 wares. Bloomberg's report also mentions the possibility of Salesforce and Microsoft agreeing to some kind of Office integration.

Microsoft and Oracle announced a deal last year via which certain Oracle apps were to be certified to run on Azure

Salesforce made its Force.com platform-as-a-service (PaaS) available on Amazon Web Services back in 2008. Salesforce's Heroku cloud-based development platform team also is an AWS "advanced technology partner."

Salesforce has been one of Microsoft's biggest PaaS competitors, not to mention its No. 1 CRM rival.

Microsoft's Dynamics CRM Online service is not (yet) hosted on Windows Azure, but users can run Dynamics CRM in a virtual machine on Azure for testing purposes. I'm not sure whether Microsoft allows Dynamics CRM to run in a virtual machine for production purposes. It isn't on the list of Microsoft-certified Azure apps. (I have a question in to Microsoft to be sure.)

Update 1: A Microsoft spokesperson said Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be run in a virtual machine on Azure in production.

I asked Microsoft and Salesforce.com officials for comment on the Bloomberg report on the possible Microsoft-Salesforce deal. A Salesforce spokesperson said the company "does not comment on rumors and speculation." No word back from Microsoft so far.

Update 2: Here's what Microsoft and Salesforce ended up announcing on May 29. 

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