To Pit New App Against Bloomberg

Due this summer with the company's quarterly release, the hosted application targets financial advisors—both those in single proprietorships and those in large financial services companies. Merrill Lynch is an early adopter, the company said.

The primary competition here is clearly Bloomberg's famous boxes—turnkey and proprietary workstations that are extremely capable—and pricey. Bloomberg subscriptions can cost $1,000 to 2,000 per user per month. A hedge fund analyst using it for his work pays $1,200 per month, for example.

The new module will cost $500 per user per month with news feeds from partners Dow Jones and Thomson Financial available at an extra charge, said Kendall Collins, senior vice president for the San Francisco-based company.

Other partners-of-record are Cisco, for its VoIP technology, and Dell, said.

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The service builds atop's Unlimited SKU which now sells for $250 per user per month.

Merrill Lynch, already a customer, was a design partner in this project, Collins said. When Wealth Management comes on line, that company 5,200 user base will swell to 25,000.

Collins said the application was built internally using the company's Apex platform. "Apex allows us to pull in the best-of-breed partners across the board," Collins told CRN.

The formal rollout of Wealth Management will be at a New York City event hosted by chairman Marc Benioff later on Tuesday.

Other than its hardware and ISV partners the profit potential for most VAR-type partners is's one-time ten-percent referral fee. The company, like other Software-as-a-Service powers is working out if and how such channel partners fit into the mix. It has recruited system integrators to help integrate legacy data into its hosted applications. It is also pitching the Apex development platform as a development tool for ISVs wanting to move their domain expertise to the SaaS model and to's online store.