To Alter Controversial Fee Plan Chief Marketing Officer George Hu declined to go into detail about the new pay-as-you go option, which will be unveiled in an Aug. 1 Web seminar for partners. "We are making many of these decisions this month," Hu said an in an interview. "The fundamental feedback we've gotten from partners is that they want more options."

Hu assumed leadership of AppExchange,'s Web site for marketing add-on applications from ISV partners, last month, when AppExchange head Rene Bonvanie resigned after a four-month tenure. introduced a voluntary program earlier this year under which partners who agree to pay 10 percent of first-year revenue from sales influenced by AppExchange or's direct sales staff receive more attentive sales and marketing assistance from the company. Next month, it was slated to increase fees to 25 percent for AppExchange partners enlisting for "premium" referral services. In the past, some partners had chafed over high fees charged for the program.

But Hu declined to say whether the company will go ahead with plans for a 25 percent fee, though it does intend to proceed as scheduled with the launch of premium services next month. recently previewed one of those services, a customizable, Web-based leads-delivery marketing program tied to AppExchange demos. It will launch in late August and be offered for free to partners for two months. has not said what costs it will carry after that.

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"There will be monetization in some way, shape or form," Hu said. "I'd rather not say more before the Aug. 1 meeting."

Also in August, will roll out a major update to its hosted, on-demand CRM service. The update will include the launch of Apex, the programming platform that will allow customers and partners to built atop's infrastructure to intensively customize their deployments and create non-CRM add-on hosted applications. hopes Apex will help it evolve beyond CRM and become the infrastructure provider for the broader SaaS (software as a service) ecosystem.

"This dramatically expands the market opportunity that covers," Hu said. "It's doing what did eight years ago for SaaS and expanding it to this next category we call 'platform as a service.'"