Salesforce's international expansion accelerates

Salesforce.com's first quarter had a bunch of high points: The company topped estimates, upped its outlook and highlighted a bevy of customer wins.

Salesforce.com's first quarter had a bunch of high points: The company topped estimates, upped its outlook and highlighted a bevy of customer wins. But the big takeaway may be that Salesforce.com's international business is picking up steam.

First, the basics. Salesforce.com (all resources) reported first quarter net income of $9.5 million, or 8 cents a share, on revenue of $247.6 million, up 52 percent from a year ago (statement). The company added 2,600 net paying customers for a total of 43,600 and ended the quarter with cash and equivalents of $751 million. The only nit-pick is that deferred revenue was $470 million, down 2 percent from the fourth quarter. Salesforce.com's outlook was solid. The company projected second quarter revenue of $258 million to $259 million with earnings of 7 cents a share to 8 cents a share. For fiscal 2009, Salesforce upped its revenue target to $1.06 billion with earnings of 33 cents a share to 34 cents a share.

But the real takeaway was that Salesforce.com's quarter had a decidedly international flair. Salesforce.com's international sales aren't huge, but you can see that revenue abroad is becoming a real factor. For the quarter ending April 30, Salesforce.com got 28 percent of its sales from Europe and Asia Pacific, up from 23 percent in the same quarter a year ago.

For now, Salesforce.com is still a U.S.-based story with $178 million of revenue coming from the Americas out of a total of $247.6 million in the quarter. Meanwhile, Salesforce.com is building its first international data center in Singapore with plans to go live by the end of the year. This data center will serve a growing Asia Pacific customer base.

On a conference call with analysts, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff also talked a global game along with the usual complement of platform as a services chatter.

Benioff talked about a Salesforce.com deployment at Areva, a nuclear power provider in France, and touted a deal with Nippon Telephone and Telegraph. Benioff also noted that Salesforce.com is increasingly displacing Siebel.

As for the Singapore data center Benioff said:

Our east and west coast US based data centers will soon be joined by a new facility in Singapore. This represents an important commitment to our international customer community particularly in Asia where we see tremendous opportunity to grow.

It's still early in Salesforce.com's international expansion, but the progress is notable.