Salesforce's Chatter Collaboration Service Goes Live

After months of beta releases and more than a little marketing hype,’s Chatter social collaboration application for businesses is now generally available for the company’s 77,300 customers.

Chatter will be provided for free to all licensees of Salesforce’s CRM and services. The company also is now offering Chatter-only licenses for $15 per user, per month, so businesses can extend the service to managers and employees who aren’t licensed for Salesforce’s other products.

Leveraging user familiarity with consumer-oriented social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Chatter is designed to provide similar collaboration capabilities for users within a business or organization, offering profiles, status updates, content and file sharing, and real-time feeds.

Chatter also ’creates a new economy and opportunity for partners and developers to realize commercial success with Cloud 2 apps,’ the company said in a statement. ’Cloud 2’ is the term Salesforce has been using to describe the second generation of cloud computing applications.

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’Salesforce Chatter is the most exciting thing I’ve worked on in my career,’ said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, in a statement. ’Delivering Chatter is a seminal moment and one that marks the arrival of Cloud 2.’

Announced at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in November, Chatter was made available to 100 customers in February under a limited beta program that was eventually expanded to 5,000 customers after what the company called ’overwhelming demand.’

The collaboration service helps businesses better manage people, programs, projects, customers, documents and business data, according to Salesforce. Companies in the beta program reported a 27 percent increase in collaboration using Chatter, the company said in today’s announcement, and a 22 percent improvement in productivity.

In addition to working with Salesforce’s CRM and service applications, Chatter works with the company’s cloud application development and deployment platform, making it possible to add collaboration capabilities to applications developed by Salesforce customers and partners.

There are currently 160,000 custom applications built on Force,com, the company said, all of which now have Chatter collaboration capabilities.

Salesforce also said Tuesday that more than 60 ’Chatter-enabled’ applications from third-party ISVs are live on the company’s AppExchange site within the ChatterExchange category, including software from Appirio, Bluewolf, Cast Iron, Glovia, Jobscience, ServiceMax and SupplierSoft.