Salesforce Unveils New Pricing Model, Development Tools

Many companies are aware of the massive on demand infrastructure that cloud computing provides, but have concerns over the cost and complexity associated with this emerging market segment. Still, Salesforce customers have built more than 50,000 custom applications using the platform, said Ariel Kelman,'s senior director of platform program marketing.

The fact that certain types of applications are being used more often than others shows a need for different pricing models, according to Kelman. "As people build more customized applications, we're seeing apps for recruiting and bug tracking being used more frequently, and the typical subscription model works great for that," said Kelman.

To account for applications that employees only access a couple of times per month, such as vacation request forms, is now offering access to customers on a per-login basis, said Kelman.

Under the new model, Salesforce customers will pay $5 per login for up to 5 logins per month, but as part of a special promotion, that rate has been reduced to 99 cents per login through the end of the year. Salesforce is also offering a flat rate of $50 per user per month for an unlimited number of logins.

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Salesforce has been pushing the notion of a platform for some time, but the vendor has encountered resistance from segments of the market over price points for certain types of applications, says Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, a New York City-based solution provider.

"Salesforce can get away with charging a certain price for CRM, but the pricing for other apps isn't as easy to sell to the CIO," said Berridge. "They're trying to make pricing more palatable to organizations to let them take advantage and migrate expensive applications onto an on-demand platform."

Salesforce also launched a set of tools and services for application development that it will offer as a service, which it expects will boost developer productivity and accurately illustrate the potential of cloud computing.

The toolset, called Development-As-A-Service, includes a metadata API that integrates the Salesforce application development process to other development tools and gives developers access to complete code and schema, said Kelman.

"Customers want to understand how platform as a service fits into application lifecycle processes, and we want to increase developer productivity. This is a new layer in the Salesforce platform stack that will enable collaboration," Kelman said.