Web search leader Google Inc. and marketing software maker Salesforce.com Inc. said on Tuesday they have jointly developed a new product that lets Google advertising be resold using Salesforce software, as part of a wide-ranging alliance.
Executives of Google and Salesforce, a pioneer in selling software as a Web service to business customers, said at a news conference that customers using Salesforce software would be able to resell Google Web advertising in 43 nations.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Under the pact, Salesforce will resell the Google AdWords platform, acting as an official distribution channel, aiming at small and medium-sized business customers.
As an example of how the deal will work, a user visiting a business's site using Salesforce and Google software could click on a Google-delivered advertisement and fill out a form asking for more information on the business's products. This customer data would automatically be piped into the company's Salesforce customer database for further action and follow-up.
"We think... this is a natural partnership," Sheryl Sandberg, Google's vice president of global online sales and operations, said at the news conference. "Both companies are in the business of helping small businesses succeed."
Beyond the reseller relationship, the two companies are also working together to give independent software developers a way to create hybrid applications that combine Salesforce's sales and marketing software with Google AdWords ad services, Reuters reports.
Analysts have speculated that other future combinations could involve Google Apps, Google's set of online office tools for tasks such as word processing. Salesforce's offering of Google Apps to businesses would place the companies in direct competition with mutual rival Microsoft Corp., which dominates the market for such office tools.
Google competes with Microsoft in online services such as search, while Salesforce.com competes with Microsoft in software used by businesses to manage their relationships with customers.
The combination of Google and Salesforce has stirred excitement because the two relatively young companies specialize in software provided over the Internet, rather than packaging and installing products on-site, as has traditionally been the case with Microsoft and others.
In a statement, Salesforce.com said that its product featuring Google AdWords is meant for small and midsize businesses. Salesforce.com's roughly 32,000 customers can use it to connect directly to AdWords and "create an ad in as quickly as five minutes and with as little as $5," according to the company.
Salesforce said that the partnership covers 43 countries and includes "distribution, technology and co-marketing efforts."
The partnership, while adding new features and sources of revenue for Salesforce.com, also expands Google's already considerable online-advertising network, marketwatch.com reports.
Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto wrote in a note released Tuesday that the partnership with Salesforce is one way Google is widening "its lead in the number of advertisers, which leads to more demand, more information, better targeting."
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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