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By | Kelly Fiveash 15th April 2008 12:40

Schmidt and Benioff try to rain on Microsoft parade

Clouds close in on Redmond

Google’s Eric Schmidt and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff took to the stage at the Four Seasons in San Francisco yesterday to dismiss Microsoft old software biz models at the official launch of Salesforce for Google Apps.

As we reported yesterday, Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) platform has been integrated with Google Apps, Gmail, Google Talk and Calendar into a single offering available in 15 languages.

The new SaaS alliance represents a Silicon Valley love-in that aims to put a sizeable dent in Microsoft’s proprietary software kingdom.

Google vice president Dave Girouard was keen to underline the significance of the strategy.

He told Agence France Presse: "We don't wake up in the morning at Google and say 'How are we going to get Microsoft," but they are going to feel an impact.

"We expect this to be part of a new era of computing. Eventually, the whole market is going to move into the cloud."

Schmidt also banged the 'software as a service' (SaaS) drum, insisting that the tech crowd’s obsession with cloud computing represented the next big shift for the industry.

"Last year the debate was 'if,' now the debate is 'when,'" he said. "This is a 20, 30, 40-year vision."

Under the new deal Salesforce will offer its customers Google Apps free, and later in the year it will push out a premium support service for $10 per customer per month, in the hope of reeling in some serious bucks from its grand scale, cloudy vision. ®

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