The force joins keeps changing the names, which makes it somewhat confusing if you are trying to cover the company’s quest to upend the software industry. keeps changing the names, which makes it somewhat confusing if you are trying to cover the company’s quest to upend the software industry. This week (the publicly-traded company, with the ticker symbol "CRM") introduced , the new moniker for the salesforce (the applications--sales, services, marketing, partner, content and a new one to be introduced today) platform (see chart below), which is based on Apex (the code running on the servers). Note that resolves to the home page.


Coincidentally, George Lucas, of “May the force be with you” "Star Wars" fame, will be participating in a keynote panel at the Dreamforce 07 conference this week in San Francisco.

I’m not sure what the company paid for the URL, but it wasn’t cheap and took four years of negotiation to obtain, according to Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of (ticker symbol CRM). He told me that is a “a strong platform name to umbrella all of our innovations.” is claiming that "delivers the application development power of .NET or J2EE without software infrastructure," and has 44,000 custom applications. It bascially allows developers to create and run their code on salesforce software and hardware infrastructure. also has a baby brother or sister, Visualforce, a tool for building custom user interfaces the Larry Dignan wrote about last week after the news escaped prior to the Dreamforce 07 conference., the company, has a parallel quest to simplify it branding, and overcome it overabundance of prefixed forces--Sforce, Appforce, salesforce, Successforce, Dreamforce,, etc.

I expect that Apex will go away at some point and be called Forcecode and that the company become Force, Inc. (FOR ticker symbol), signifying a graduation from its salesforce automation origins to an application platform and the passing on of the outdated .com appended to the company name.

It will take more than marketing and name changes for the Force to be with as SAP, Business Objects, Oracle, Microsoft and others invest more heavily in on demand services. But, Benioff and company continue to lead the charge.

In a blog post, Ken Rudin, a former Siebel executive and now CEO of Lucid Era, which develops on demand business intelligence software that also integrates with, described the challenges of the well-funded newcomers.

1. (Fear of) Cannibalization 2. Addiction to License Fees 3. Channel Friction 4. A Product Feature Set vs. A Service Mindset

In time, they will overcome those challenges. Benioff's hope is by the time his larger competitors selling enterprise software have unencumbered themselves, will have built its on demand island into a continent.


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