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Salesforce Buys Dimdim to Help Socialize 'Chatter'

By Stuart J. Johnston     Feedback

Salesforce wants to make its cloud services more like Facebook, says social is the way of the future.

After months of rumors, Salesforce.com announced Thursday that it has acquired live conferencing firm Dimdim for some $31 million.

The company's intent, according to Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), is to enhance its evolving Chatter collaboration platform by adding Dimdim's electronic meeting technologies into it, and make it more social like, for example, Facebook.

"Facebook has fundamentally changed the way we communicate in our personal lives," Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, said in a statement.

"The acquisition of Dimdim will help Salesforce.com deliver to the enterprise the same integrated collaboration and communication experience that made Facebook the world's most popular Internet site," Benioff added.

Salesforce began delivering Chatter to customers last June. Since then, the company claims that more than 60,000 customers have deployed Chatter.

With Chatter, subscribers can follow each other, posting updates that others may find useful such as sales leads. Adding electronic conferencing and meetings into Chatter will help Salesforce flesh out a concept it calls "Cloud 2."

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"The first phase of cloud computing was about leveraging technologies that were low cost, fast and easy to use. Cloud 2 represents the new generation of cloud computing — one that is inherently social, mobile and real-time," a company statement said.

Rumors of the possible purchase of Dimdim by Salesforce surfaced in mid-November, following the services titan's acquisition of Activa Live Chat in September. Dimdim also offers an open source community edition.

Salesforce has purchased other companies recently as well, announcing in December that it will pay $212 million for open source Ruby language cloud vendor Heroku. That deal closed earlier this week.

Dimdim was founded in 2007 to design a platform that would let users host and attend demos, webinars, and live online meetings from a Web browser, with no need for software installation on the clients.

"By offering an integrated collaboration and communication platform, the company believes it will drive greater Chatter adoption, increase customer loyalty and differentiate its entire product portfolio," the statement said.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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This article was originally published on January 7, 2011
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