Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM:US) introduced an overhauled version of its mobile software, seeking to ensure clients and partners will be able to use more features of the company’s sales, marketing and customer service software.
Called Salesforce1, the new software will make it easier for businesses to customize Salesforce.com’s services for smartphones and tablets, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement today. Application developers will also get better tools to tap into the platform.
The revamp comes as the largest maker (CRM:US) of customer-management programs hosts its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week and reports fiscal third-quarter earnings (CRM:US) today. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff is competing with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) and SAP AG in the $20.7 billion market for technology that lets companies manage their customers, while adding newer tools for marketing and client support.
“A lot of the biggest Oracle and SAP customers in the world are running Salesforce,” said Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG in San Francisco who has a buy (CRM:US) rating on the stock. “They’re building steam, not losing it.”
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By tapping into Salesforce1, note-taking software maker Evernote Corp., online-storage provider Dropbox Inc. and professional network LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD:US) will also be able to ensure that their content and services can be more readily viewed by Salesforce.com users, Kendall Collins executive vice president, products, said in an interview.
Salesforce is projected to report a 34 percent climb in revenue (CRM:US) to $1.06 billion for the quarter that ended in October, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings (CRM:US) excluding some items are projected to rise 4.8 percent to 9 cents a share.
Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities in San Francisco, wrote in an Oct. 8 research note to clients that the new tools may “accelerate revenue growth” from developers by bringing together an array of mobile applications currently offered by Salesforce.
Salesforce1 will over time replace mobile offerings including Chatter and Salesforce Touch for customers, Collins said. More customers are using smartphone and tablet applications as their main conduit to Salesforce’s software and services, he said.
“Salesforce1 will fundamentally replace all of our mobile applications,” Collins said, adding that the tools will be immediately available for Apple Inc. (AAPL:US)’s iOS and Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Android mobile operating systems. “It effectively is now our flagship mobile app.”
Salesforce has frequently revamped its technology and shifted mobile-computing strategy. A year ago at Dreamforce, the company released a new version of its software for tablets after a year’s delay. In 2012, Benioff announced he was building a storage system called Chatterbox, then replaced the effort this year with a tool called Salesforce Files.
“I’ve been to enough Dreamforces to know what you hear at Dreamforce may not be relevant in three months,” said Peter Goldmacher, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in San Francisco who has the equivalent of a sell rating for the stock.
Salesforce.com customers also experienced a widespread outage on Nov. 15 that blocked access for many users. The service outage was caused by planned network maintenance, Collins said.
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