Microsoft and Salesforce.com are hammering out a deal that will bring Salesforce applications to Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
[Editor's note: Microsoft and Salesforce.com formally announced their deal after this story was published. Contrary to the rumor, the partnership will not see Salesforce apps on Azure. Read Microsoft, Saleforce.com Make Nice, Marry Apps.]
Any deal between Salesforce and Microsoft would mark a big change in a chilly relationship between the two companies. Microsoft sued Salesforce.com for patent infringement in 2010, and Microsoft's Dynamics applications unit has aggressively positioned and priced its CRM application to go up against Salesforce. What's more, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff has also been a frequent critic of Microsoft, although those criticisms have cooled somewhat since Satya Nadella was named Microsoft's CEO in February.
[Want more on the Microsoft-Oracle Azure deal? Read Microsoft And Oracle Say: Come To Azure Cloud.]
A deal between Salesforce and Microsoft wouldn't be a complete surprise given last year's first-ever partnership between Oracle and Microsoft. That deal brought Oracle applications, middleware, and database services to Azure. And earlier this month, Microsoft and longtime partner SAP announced that SAP enterprise applications will soon be available on Azure.
Salesforce doesn't want to be left off that list, and Microsoft is clearly growing its cloud platform with popular application choices rather than favoring its Dynamics unit with exclusivity. Dynamics applications include CRM as well as AX, GP, and NAV ERP applications.
Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce applications are all used in combination with Microsoft desktop applications and, frequently, infrastructure software, so why not extend co-existence into the cloud era? It could be that management changes at Microsoft opened up door to warmer relations with Salesforce.com.
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